Language and Logic introductory course:
Quotation and the semantics of speech reports.

  • Emar Maier ()

In every language we can say things about the world, but also about the language itself. In both natural and formal languages we find quotational devices dedicated to this task of turning a language on itself. In this course I give an introduction to the semantics of quotation, focusing on its use in natural language speech reporting. Entering more recent debates we'll explore in some detail the semantics of mixed quotation, and 'monstrous' perspectival shifts.

The starting point is the basic opposition between use and mention and the classic analyses of quotation (Quine, Tarski, Geach and Davidson). In the second lecture I apply these insights to the semantics of natural language speech reporting where we find an apparent parallel to our basic opposition in the distinction between indirect and direct discourse. I'll explore the standard reductions of direct discourse to mention, and indirect discourse to use (under an intensional operator in Kaplan's (1989) 'Logic of Demonstratives'). In the third lecture we'll consider the pros and cons of these standard approaches, in particular the recent challenges to Kaplan posed by shifted indexicals and Schlenker's (2003) analysis in terms of 'monsters'.

The most interesting type of speech report however is mixed quotation, which combines aspects of direct discourse/mention and indirect discourse/use. In the final two lectures we compare the main views in the ongoing debate about the semantics of this construction: Cappelen and Lepore (1997), Recanati (2001), Potts (2007), and Geurts and Maier (2005). I close by considering the possibility of extending the semantics of mixed quotation to account for the indexical shift phenomena problematic for the classic Kaplanian framework.