Predicating Truth: An empirically based analysis

Shirly Orr, Mira Ariel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is a common assumption that predicating truth over some assertion expresses the evaluation of that assertion as true (or false) with respect to its corresponding state of affairs. This assumption, combined with the norms that govern assertions, renders the use of ‘true’ redundant in natural discourse. In the following, we examine the two uses of ‘true’ discussed in the literature: the descriptive truth-evaluative use and the performatory intersubjective agreement use. We analyze the true tokens in two spoken American English corpora, and identify a unique discourse profile for each use. Nonetheless, the two uses of ‘true’ do not manifest a perfectly complementary distribution. On the contrary, they exhibit a bi-directional derivational relation, which may flip on the basis of the relevant context. When one use is foregrounded, the other is backgrounded, and vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume185
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Prominence
  • Stance
  • Subjectivity
  • True
  • Truth

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