chapter  4
14 Pages

Conceptual Events and Real-world Situations

People cannot understand the relationship between a linguistic expression and a real-world situation to which it refers unless they recognize the mediating roles played by the speaker and by the context of a speech event. This chapter considers the concept of autonomous text and explains how the relation which it posits between the linguistic expression and the real world, is alien to the nature of language. Autonomous text would consist of context-free statements statements which would have a single uniform interpretation in any conceivable context. The chapter also considers the relations which in ordinary language use are actually expected to obtain between linguistic expressions, or more specifically, conceptual events, and real-world situations. The mapping view and, especially, the notion of truth conditions give particular prominence to the constraints imposed upon the design of linguistic expressions by real-world situations to which they refer. This relation appears in a quite different light in the reality-construction view of language.