Research Forum – Isidora Stojanovic (Institut Nicod): "Pejoratives Revisited"
December 01, 2020, 16.15-17.45
Existing accounts of pejoratives converge on the idea that a use of a pejorative such as 'jerk' or 'asshole' is felicitous as long as the speaker has a negative attitude toward the person for whom they are using the pejorative, and does not place any special constraints on the conversational context. This talk presents experimental data that challenge this idea, based on joint work with Bianca Cepollaro and Filippo Domaneschi, "When is it OK to call someone a jerk? An experimental investigation of expressives", Synthese 2020, doi 10.1007/s11229-020-02633-z). Our main study shows that pejoratives are sensitive to contextual information to a much higher degree than the non-pejorative control items (such as ‘Piedmontese’), both in their referential and (albeit less) their predicative use. I shall discuss the broader implications of these results, as well as several follow-up studies.
Details can be found on the eLearning site (https://elearning.uni-bayreuth.de/course/view.php?id=27601), where you will also find the Zoom link. We look forward to seeing many of you there!