International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The Syntax and Pragmatics of Referring Expressions in Gichuka: A Challenge to the Generative Grammar’s Logical Form in Assigning Meaning to Sentences
Silvano Murithi Ndwiga

This study analyses the structure and assignment of truth conditional meaning of sentences containing referring (R—) expressions in Gichuka, a Bantu language within the Niger-Congo family spoken by the Ameru people living on the North Eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. The study finds that the assignment of truth conditional meaning to sentences with R—expressions is not a purely syntactic matter but one that involves the interplay of syntax and pragmatics. It argues that the generative grammar’s proposal that logical forms constrain all aspects of the truth conditional meaning in sentences is inadequate because it fails to account for pragmatic processes such as saturation and enrichment that derive propositional forms which bear truth conditions in sentences containing R―expressions. It makes a case for the thesis that contextual features play a significant role in assigning truth conditional meaning to sentences containing R—expressions, as expounded in the relevance theory.

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