The Pragmatics of slurs

Journal article


Bolinger, Renée Jorgensen. (2017). The Pragmatics of slurs. Nous. 51(3), pp. 439-462. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12090
AuthorsBolinger, Renée Jorgensen
Abstract

I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term (and its associations). Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theoretical cost and imposes few constraints on an account of the semantics of slurs, this suggests that we should not require semantic accounts to provide an independent explanation of the offense profile.

Year2017
JournalNous
Journal citation51 (3), pp. 439-462
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN0029-4624
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12090
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84923888568
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range439-462
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Mar 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jan 2022
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