Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 1–28 | Cite as

Scare Quotes and Their Relation to Other Semantic Issues

  • Stefano Predelli


The main aim of this paper is that of providing a unified analysis for some interesting uses of quotation marks, including so-called scare quotes. The phenomena exemplified by the cases I discuss have remained relatively unexplored, notwithstanding a growing interest in the behavior of quotation marks. They are, however, of no lesser interest than other, more widely studied effectsachieved with the help of quotationmarks. In particular, as I argue in whatfollows, scare quotes and other similar instances bear interesting relations with someimportant themes in the study of natural languages, such as questions regarding alleged devicesof conventional implicature, cases of so-called metalinguistic negation, and, moregenerally, problems pertaining to the distinction between semantic and pragmatic fieldsof inquiry.

In Section 1, I begin with a description of some examples involvingthe uses of quotation marks I intend to discuss, and I hint at some desiderata fortheir analysis. In Section 2, I temporarily abandon quotation marks, and, inspired by therecent work of Stephen Neale and Kent Bach on alleged devices of conventional implicature,I present what I call the theory of message and attachment. In Sections 3 and 4,I return to my initial examples, I employ the theory of message and attachment in theiranalysis, and I discuss certain features regarding the behavior of negation in some related cases.


Unify Analysis Artificial Intelligence Natural Language Computational Linguistic Related Case 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Predelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Filosofisk Institutt Universitetet i OsloOsloNorway

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