The influence of context on the meaning of certain indefinite pronouns Cover Image
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The influence of context on the meaning of certain indefinite pronouns

Author(s): Elżbieta Wierzbicka-Piotrowska
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Dom Wydawniczy ELIPSA

Summary/Abstract: The paper contains a semantic and pragmatic analysis of nominal phrases with an indefinite pronoun functioning as the superior constituent or the subordinate constituent, which are ambiguous in certain contexts. This is related to the identifiedness or non-identifiedness of the set to which the referent of the phrase belongs and the location it occupies in this set – it is either a component of the entire set or a component of its subset. For instance, the phrase gdzieś na ulicy [somewhere on the street] refers either to a non-identified location belonging to an identified set of places, which is a street known to interlocutors in the city where they are at the moment, or to a place characterised as situated on a street of an undefined city, that is belonging to an non-identified set of streets. A different type of ambiguity is characteristic for the phrase jakieś owoce [some fruit(s)], the referent of which is either a component of an identified set of fruit, e.g. in the sentence Daj mi jakieś owoce z tych, które kupiliśmy dzisiaj [Give me some fruit(s) from among those we have bought today], or it belongs to a subset of a non-identified set of fruit in the situation referring to a species of fruits, e.g. in the sentence addressed at a seller Czy mógłby mi pan sprzedać jakieś owoce [Could you sell me some fruits]. The ambiguity described in the paper disappears when pragmatic factors, such as context and situation of speaking, are taken into account, which was proved after analysing numerous uses of the Polish pronouns gdzieś [somewhere], kiedyś [sometime] and jakoś [somehow]. Trans. M. Czarnecka

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 94-110
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Polish