Volume 13, Issue 2, 2013
Esther Romero, Belén Soria
Challenges to Bach’s Pragmatics
In this paper, we will revise Bach’s classification of contents in what is directly meant. That catalogue was introduced to reach an exhaustive characterization of the contents that may appear in what the speaker means; something that cannot be done just with Grice’s division between what is said and what is implied. However, Bach’s distinction among different types of direct inexplicit contents (explicit, implicit, and figurative) presents some theoretical problems which we think can be avoided if at least the following is considered. First, within what he calls “local completion”, a more fine grained distinction between lexical specialization
and local completion proper should be established. We suggest that this can be done by resorting to different senses in which a mandatory demand of pragmatic information may be triggered. Cases of lexical specialization will depend on context-sensitive expressions and will require a new notion for explicit contents: expliciture. Second, we argue that metonymy should be considered as an impliciture rather than as a case of figurative content, taking into account that supplementation rather than transfer is the pragmatic strategy involved in the interpretation of metonymic utterances. Third, we defend that in metonymic utterances, the impliciture is based on completion rather than expansion and this entails a refi nement of the notion of propositional radical. In this way, our reform leads to a more exhaustive classification, and provides the criteria underlying this catalogue of the ways in which what is directly communicated in an utterance can go beyond sentence meaning.