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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 29, 2015

Conversational implicatures, reference point constructions, and that noun thing

William Salmon
From the journal Linguistics


This paper offers the first empirical and theoretical account of an NP construction referred to as that noun thing (TNT) in English. I argue that the construction is a Langackerian reference point construction, with the basic use of referring in situations in which speakers find it difficult to characterize the referent in question. I also show that speakers systematically rely on this relational means of referring in specific contexts to convey a range of Gricean conversational implicatures such as speaker disapproval, which are above and beyond the conventional meaning of the construction. The TNT thus offers a clear space from which to view the interplay of conventional meaning in cognitive and construction grammars with classic Gricean pragmatics.

Published Online: 2015-4-29
Published in Print: 2015-5-1

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