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Steve Oswald, Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics at the University of Fribourg, is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar. He will talk about 'Pragmatic and rhetorical aspects of insinuation'.

Event details of ACLC Seminar | Steve Oswald (University of Fribourg)
Date 15 October 2021
Time 16:15 -17:30

This lecture is organised together with the ACLC PERSUADE Research Group.


Pragmatic and rhetorical aspects of insinuation


Since insinuation – through which speakers implicitly convey negative ascriptions non-overtly (Bell 1997) – is in theory plausibly deniable, many (e.g., Fricker 2012, Bell 1997, Bertucelli Papi 2014) hold that insinuators cannot be taken to be committed to the content of what they insinuate. Against this majority view, Fraser (2001) considers that insinuation is committing, i.e., meant to be recognised as being meant to be recognised. Experimental research on the topic has yielded mixed results: while Mazzarella et al. (2018) find that speakers who imply a message are perceived to be less committed than those who assert it, Bonalumi et al. (2020), in a study on promises, find that rather than the explicit/implicit nature of promises, it is the relevance of the speech act to participants which drives commitment attribution. I discuss these various views, argue that insinuations do license commitment attribution processes, and assess some of their rhetorical implications.

About the ACLC seminar series

The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, research school for linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities.