UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)

The deferred interpretation of indexicals and proper names


One of the central tenets of direct reference theory, that indexicals are semantically marked so as to give rise to singular propositions, has recently been challenged, by Geoffrey Nunberg among others, on the grounds that indexicals can, in fact, be shown to lead to the same range of interpretations as descriptions. In this paper I want to take a look at so-called deferred interpretations of indexicals and proper names from a cognitive perspective grounded in Relevance Theory, with the aim of exploring what rôles semantic decoding and pragmatic inference play in the retrieval of these interpretations.

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