On Something Similar

Volume 17
Issue 2
Joan Busquets & Christian Bassac
The use of expressions something similar/something like that/and the like is a pervasive feature of spoken natural language, and thus must be accounted for if we hope to develop a semantic account of dialogue. These expressions exhibit an anaphoric type dependency, but at the semantic-pragmatic level rather than the syntactic level. The meaning of these utterances depends upon the context of utterance: if the meaning of the utterance is regardedas fixed, then utterances which intuitively are coherent receive incoherent interpretations. To model what happens with utterances containing these phrases, we require both a formal theory of discourse structure, and accessibility to the lexicon.