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Saturday, October 12 • 9:45am - 10:10am
Beltrama et al.: How pragmatic precision affects social perception: A socio-pragmatic study

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How pragmatic precision affects social perception: A socio-pragmatic study

Recent work has unveiled a link between the semantic, pragmatic and social components of the meaning of different forms (McCready 2012, Acton & Potts 2014; Beltrama 2016). We extend this research by asking: what pragmatic factors underlie the ability of (im)precision—a phenomenon deeply embedded in pragmatic variation—to index speaker identity? Evidence from a social perception study suggests that precise expressions associated with higher ratings than approximate ones (e.g., "There's a gas station {4.14 miles / 4 miles} down the road"), confirming that variation in precision is indeed social meaningful. However, its social meaning does not seem to contain dimensions that correlate with low precision. Furthermore, the social evaluation of precision does not seem to be affected by how relevant details are in the communicative context. When a contextual effect is present, however, it suggests an inverse correlation between precision’s social salience and pragmatic relevance.


Andrea Beltrama

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pennsylvania

Heather Burnett

CNRS-Université de Paris 7

Stephanie Solt

Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft

Saturday October 12, 2019 9:45am - 10:10am PDT
EMU Crater Lake S
  T: Social evaluation
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Charlotte Vaughn