Levels of Linguistic Acts and the Semantics of Saying and Quoting

In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Interpreting Austin: Critical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 34-59 (2017)
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This paper will outline a novel semantics of verbs of saying and of quotation based on Austin’s (1962) distinction among levels of linguistic acts (illocutionary, locutionary, rhetic, phatic, and phonetic acts). It will propose a way of understanding the notion of a rhetic act and argue that it is well-reflected in the semantics of natural language. The paper will furthermore outline a novel, unified and compositional semantics of quotation which is guided by two ideas. First, quotations convey properties related to lower-level (phonetic or phatic) linguistic acts; second, such meanings of quotations are strictly based on syntactic structure, namely a lower-level (phonetic, phonological or morpho-syntactic) structure as part of the syntactic structure that is input to semantic interpretation. Such lower-level linguistic structures will contribute properties of utterances, to the semantic composition of the sentence, in one way or another.
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