Indirect Reports and Societal Pragmatics

  • Alessandro Capone
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 22)


Indirect reports are segments of speech which involve a dialogic dimension (clearly constituting a case of polyphony) and, thus, studying them offers a chance for linguistics to again appropriate its original status as a theory that deals with linguistic signs and communication. The practice of indirect reporting intersects with a theory of knowledge because, through an indirect report, knowledge is imparted on the basis of which the hearer will decide whether or not to act and how he should take action. In this chapter, I discuss the issue of opacity and try to defend a pragmatic view of opacity in connection with indirect reports (on the other hand, I believe that opacity in direct quotation is mainly a semantic issue). I try to explain opacity pragmatically, although I accept that there are numerous exceptions that one has to account for (namely, the replacement of NPs with the aim of facilitating the establishment of reference). In this chapter, I also consider the issue of slurs in terms of the opacity of a pragmatic form, and I then accept that we have to consider the societal constraints on the use/mention of slurs (more or less as exceptions to the application of pragmatic opacity).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Capone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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