Formal Semantics or Dual Pragmatics


The purpose of this paper is to see how each of these twoschools studies meaning. Semantics, as we all know, is concernedwith the literal meaning of a lexical item and a sentence and therelations pertaining among them.Driven more use-invariantly, formal semantics (FS) studies language“in terms of the formal features of linguistic expression…”, asBorg, on whom this study has relied largely, says, “independently, tosome extent at least, of the use to which the language is being put”,Borg 15. It inspects literal meaning in the sense that it overlookssuch semantic properties as metaphor and irony… which are “oftenheld to occur post-semantically,” Borg 18, once the literal meaningis settled. So, to look at the meaning of a sentence formally isto view its words through their formal properties as we view theirphonetic features and their syntactic or logical combination into asentence. Thus, meaning is not affected by context.