Proposition query

Tahir Wood twood at UWC.AC.ZA
Fri Jan 23 14:23:40 UTC 2009

Hi folks

Another query. It concerns the status of the proposition within linguistic theory. I am aware that the proposition is an indispensable notion within Teun van Dijk's theoretical work, but I can't recall if there is a really clear theoretical definition of the proposition to be found. 

Kintsch (1998:69), for example, says that “propositions appear to be the semantic processing units of the mind” and that they have only an indirect relationship to the syntax of sentences, this because natural language has “many purposes other than the expression of meaning”, whereas propositions are those representations that are “focused on meaning”. 

This is indeed my point of departure but it doesn't exactly take us very far theoretically. I'm working on the theoretical aspect but I don't want to reinvent the wheel. If anyone can point me to a good theoretical discussion of the proposition that would be useful -- particularly if it can be located easliy on the web! -- I would be most grateful. I assume that, given the complexion of this list, the definitions offered would tend to reflect psychologism rather than logicism (as in Frege, Russell etc).

BTW, as a small advertisement, following my query last year as to the definition of pragmatics, which pragmatics journals might accept theoretical discourse articles, etc., I can report that the theoretical article I was working on at the time did in fact get accepted by the Journal of Pragmatics and it can be viewed on their website in pre-publication form at


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