Proposition query

Chilton, Paul p.chilton at LANCASTER.AC.UK
Fri Jan 23 16:28:10 UTC 2009

Interesting question.

You might be interested in the neuro-anatomical hypothesis for the
cognitive origin of predicate-argument structure in 

The neural basis of predicate-argument structure. James R. Hurford.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences , Volume 26, Issue 03, June 2003, pp
261-283 ...



-----Original Message-----
From: Critical Discourse/Language/Communication Analysis
[mailto:CRITICS-L at NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Tahir Wood
Sent: 23 January 2009 14:24
Subject: Proposition query

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

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

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

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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