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Words and the Grammar of Context cover

Words and the Grammar of Context

Paul Kay

In this collection, Paul Kay relates two usually separate traditions of semantic research: the meanings of the words and the contextual determination of interpretation. Kay argues that the currently accepted views of semantic compositionality, Gricean effects, and indexicality are necessary, but not sufficient, to bridge the gap between the conventional significations of linguistic objects and the interpretations that sentences receive in contexts. Although not alone in this view, Kay's radical contribution to this general line of thought is his claim that the kind of theory of ‘indexicality’ required by the facts must be able to avail itself of the recursive (in Chomsky's sense ‘creative’) aspect of language. Expressions which have context-indexing force cannot be listed; they can be freely generated. Ultimately, Kay is interested in language as a medium of communication: attempting to understand the role of grammar in the activities of both speakers and interlocutors.

The ten papers collected here are supplemented by a foreword wrritten by Charles J. Fillmore. The foreword integrates the ideas presented in Kay's papers, serving as a good starting point for the examination of words and the grammar of context.

Paul Kay is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword Charles J. Fillmore
  • 1 Regularity and Idiomaticity in Grammatical Constructions: The Case of Let Alon with Charles J. Fillmore and Mary Catherine O'Connor
  • 2 Even
  • 3 At Least
  • 4 Construction Grammar
  • 5 Linguistic Competence and Folk Theories of Language: Two English Hedges
  • 6 The Kind of/Sort of Construction
  • 7 Contextual Operators: respective, respectively, and vice versa
  • 8 Constructional Modus Tollens and Level of Conventionality
  • 9 Three Properties of the Ideal Reader
  • 10 The Inheritance of Presuppositions
  • References


ISBN (Paperback): 1881526178 (9781881526179)
ISBN (Cloth): 1881526186 (9781881526186)
ISBN (Electronic): 1575869748 (9781575869742)

Subject: Linguistics; Grammar; Semantics

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