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Faculty Book: Robert Fiengo

Robert Fiengo and Robert May

De Lingua Belief
(Bradford Books/MIT Press, 2006)

bookcoverSpeakers, in their everyday conversations, use language to talk about language. They may wonder about what words mean, to whom a name refers, whether a sentence is true. They may worry whether they have been clear, or correctly expressed what they meant to say. That speakers can make such inquiries implies a degree of access to the complex array of knowledge and skills underlying our ability to speak, and though this access is incomplete, we nevertheless can form beliefs—de lingua beliefs—about linguistic matters of considerable subtlety, about ourselves and others. Fiengo and May focus on the beliefs speakers have about the semantic values of linguistic expressions, exploring the genesis of these beliefs, and the explanatory roles they play in how speakers use and understand language. Their key insight is that the content of beliefs about semantic values can be taken as part of what we say by our utterances. Robert Fiengo is a professor of linguistics at Queens College and The Graduate Center.

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Submitted on: OCT 1, 2006

Category: Faculty Books, Linguistics