Some Logic in Communication

Paul Dekker

Nieuwe Doelenstraat 15
1012 CP Amsterdam


Sentences containing pronouns or indefinite noun phrases can be said to express open propositions, propositions which display gaps to be filled. This paper addresses the question what kind of information of a speaker can be said to support the utterance of such propositions. We consider a set of cases exemplifying proper and improper uses of these terms, and we argue that neither the classical (`objective'), nor the discourse-oriented or dynamic (hearer's) perspective on (variable) meaning give us a straightforward answer to this question.
We then motivate and formulate a speaker's perspective on meaning, and relate it to the classical and the dynamic one. We propose three key notions, that of the content of a sentence, that of the support for the utterance of a sentence, and that of the update which an utterance may bring about. The three notions are each defined in a compositional fashion and brought together within a single coherent framework.

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