, Volume 165, Issue 3, pp 373–384 | Cite as

On the semantics/pragmatics distinction

  • Brendan S. GillonEmail author


This paper addresses two questions: what is the distinction between semantics and pragmatics? And why is this distinction important? These questions are discussed in light of the central explanatory goal of linguistics and in relation to the phenomenon of context sensitivity, as illustrated by relational words with implicit arguments and by so-called quantifier domain restriction. It is concluded that context sensitivity is, in the former case, grammatical or lexical and, in the latter case, neither.


Ambiguity Anaphora Circumstance of utterance Circumstance of evaluation Context sensitivity Co-text Deixis Implicit argument Pragmatics Quantifier domain restriction Quantified noun phrases Relational word Semantics Underspecification 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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