chapter  4
Pragmatics
ByBetty J. Birner
Pages 42

Thus far we have taken a truth-conditional, compositional approach to semantic meaning, in which the semantic meaning of a chunk of language is related in a predictable way to its truth in a given world and in which larger meanings are related in a predictable way to the smaller meanings of which they are composed. But surely what it means to ‘mean’ something involves the speaker’s intent in saying it, not just its truth-conditions. Indeed, this is one of the primary senses of the word mean: When I say that I didn’t mean you couldn’t go to the party, I’m not necessarily objecting to the truth-conditions of what I’ve previously said; rather, I’m objecting to a possible interpretation of my intention. And when we’re talking about interpretations and intentions, we’ve moved beyond the realm of semantics. Now we’ve entered the realm of pragmatics.