Word, context and communicative meaning

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This paper discusses the dynamic relationship of word meaning with context, which implies a reciprocal process between the two. On the one hand context specifies word meaning, and words can create their own context. According to current pragmatic theories meaning depends on its context. However, this is only one side of the matter. Words encoding standard prior contexts can create their own context. World knowledge is available for us in two forms: 1) Actual situational context in which the interaction occurs, and 2) Lexical units that encapsulate the history of their use, i. e., the situations in which they have been used (see Kecskes 2004, 2008, 2013). The paper introduces the Dynamic Model of Meaning that explains how actual communicative meaning is created as the result of the interplay between prior context encoded in the words used in the utterance and actual situational context in which the interaction takes place.

- Istvan Kecskes

State University of New York

Email: helen.reunova@gmail.com

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