Linear Order and the Construction of Meaning: Is Syntax Deceptive?

Geneviève GIRARD-GILLET
2012 E-REA  
It is commonly assumed that the syntax of a sentence and its semantic interpretation cannot differ radically, if some kind of coherence is to be maintained. We analyse here some examples that tend to show that syntax sometimes imposes its own rules, regardless of the semantic data, and that the interpretation is then saved because of our general cognitive knowledge about the world. Conversely semantics sometimes "twists" the grammatical rules so as to enrich the linguistic tools the speaker
more » ... ols the speaker requires for a better encoding of his/her communicative desires. Il est communément admis que la syntaxe d'une phrase et sa sémantique fonctionnent de manière harmonieuse, pour que la langue soit cohérente. Nous analysons ici quelques exemples où la syntaxe impose ses propres règles, en dépit des données sémantiques, et où ce sont nos connaissances cognitives générales qui nous permettent de construire convenablement le sens. A l'inverse, la sémantique peut "tordre" certaines règles syntaxiques pour permettre à l'énonciateur une meilleure stratégie communicative. The question that will be addressed here concerns the link that exists between syntax and semantics. This is not in itself an original topic, but we intend to discuss this phenomenon in relation to the theme of the Conference organised by the LERMA, namely: What relationship exists between form and meaning? And could syntax be deceptive, misleading? Syntax and semantics co-participate in the construction of meaning in various ways, but they often oppose each other, because of their own way of functioning: syntax is rather simple, and consists of a small number of rules, compared to the intricacies of
doi:10.4000/erea.2384 fatcat:japg26mtaveldioh2rgdd2idku