1932

Abstract

A major goal of modern syntax has been to find principles that rule out sentences that seem ungrammatical. To achieve this goal, it has been proposed that syntactically odd (or ungrammatical) sentences can be distinguished empirically and theoretically from semantically odd (or semantically anomalous) sentences. However, sometimes it is not clear why a sentence is “weird,” which has repercussions for our syntactic and semantic theories. According to a number of proposals, semantic and pragmatic processes can lead to weirdness that empirically feels more like ungrammaticality than semantic oddness. But if this is so, then a question arises: What explains the intuitive difference between sentences that feel ungrammatical and those that merely feel semantically (or pragmatically) anomalous? This article addresses this question by describing and comparing various semantic and pragmatic proposals for explaining different types of weirdness: ungrammaticality, semantic anomaly, and pragmatic infelicity.

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2019-01-14
2024-06-22
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