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Utterance - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Utterance. By: Shorooq Al- Masoudi. Definition : Any stretch of talk, by one person, before and after which there is silence on the part of that person. Example :

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By: Shorooq Al-Masoudi


Any stretch of talk, by one person, before and after which there is silence on the part of that person.

  • Example:

  • “Hello”, “not much”, and “utterances may consist of a single word, a single phrase, or a single sentence. It’s not unusual to find utterances that consist of one or more grammatically incomplete sentence-fragments. In short, there is no simple relation of correspondence between utterances and sentences”. The three previous examples present utterances.

  • Example:

  • “ pxgotmgt” and “ Schplotzenpflaaaaaaargh!”. These two examples do not present any utterances because this string of sounds is not forming any language.

A sentence

Is neither a physical event nor a physical object. It is conceived abstractly, a string of words put together by the grammatical rules of a language. It can be thought of as the IDEAL string of words behind various realizations in utterances and inscriptions.

  • We need to make a careful distinction between utterances and sentences. Anything written between double quotation marks represents an utterance, e.g. “Help”. Anything italicized represents a sentence, e.g. The cotillions have been struck.

  • A sentence is a grammatically complete string of words expressing a complete thought.

PROPOSITIONBy: MahasenHijaziBaraa Rambo

A Proposition

is that part of the meaning of the utterance of a declarative sentence which describes some state of affairs .Rule :the notion of truth can be used to decide whether twosentences express different propositions . Thus if there is any conceivable set of circumstances in which one sentence is true , while the other is false , we can be sure that they express different propositions.

  • The notion of truth

Do these pairs of sentences share a description of the same state of affairs, or, in other words ,

do they share a common proposition?

1- Harry took out the garbage / Harry took the garbage out. 2- John gave Mary a book / Mary was given a book by John. 3-George danced with Ethel / George didn't dance with Ethel. 4- Dr Findlay killed Janet / Dr Findlay caused Janet to die.

True propositions correspond to facts while false propositions don’t correspond to facts .

In the present-day world

1-is it a fact that there are lions in Africa?

  • yes

    2-is the proposition that there are lions in Africa

    a true proposition ?

  • yes

    3-is it a fact that the state of Arkansas is uninhibited by human beings ?

  • No

One can entertain propositions in the mind regardless of whether they are true or false by thinking them , or believing them.

But only true propositions can be known .

1- if I say to you (( if Marry came to the party , Phyllis must have been upset )) do I thereby put in your mind the proposition that Mary came to the party , without

necessarily indicating whether it is true or not ?

  • yes

    2- is there something odd about the following sentence ? If so, what ?

    Pamela considered the fact that her mother was alive and realized that it could not possibly be true.

  • Yes, contradiction

Propositions involved in the meaning of other types of sentences, not only with the declarative

sentences, such as interrogativesand imperative.


In saying ((John can go)) a speaker asserts the proposition that John can go.

In saying ((can John go?)) he mentions the same proposition but merely questions its truth .

We say that corresponding declarative and interrogative (imperative) have the same propositional content .

1- In the following utterances , is any

propositions asserted by the speaker ?

A- Have you seen my toothbrush ?

  • No

    B- Get out of here this minute .

  • No

    C- I'm afraid that I will have to ask you to


  • Yes

2- Would you say that the following sentence

pairs have the same propositional content?

A-Go away will you ?

You will go away .

  • yes

    B-Pigs might fly .

    I'm a Dutchman .

  • no

    C- I am an idiot

    Am I an idiot ?

  • yes

Propositionscannot be said to belong to any particular language , unlike sentences.

Sentences in different languages can correspond to the same proposition

if the two sentences are

perfect translations of each other.

One may question whether perfect translation between languages is ever possible.

many linguists disagree about this and conclude that absolutely perfect translation of the same proposition from one language

to another is impossible.

However, to simplify matters , perfect translation IS possible in very few cases .

There is a relationship between a proposition , Sentences and Utterances

as it is shown in the diagram blow .

For example , a single proposition

could be expressed by using several different sentences and each of these sentences could be uttered an infinite number of times.

A proposition is an abstraction that can be grasped by the mind of an individual person. so, a proposition is an object of thought.

we must not equate propositions with thoughts for these difference

but ,

For one individual person

the word thought may sometimes

be used in a way which includes the notion of a proposition.

For one may say ‘The same thought came into both our heads at the same time.’

In this case, the word thought is being used in a sense quite like a proposition

Unfortunately ,

The relationship between mental processes (e.g. thoughts), abstract semantic entities (e.g. propositions), linguistic entities

(e.g. sentences), and actions

(e.g. utterances) is problematic and complicated .

Finally ,

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