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Meaning and Communication in the Information Age

This project looks at how linguistic meaning and communication have changed in response to advances in information technology.

Software code
Photo: Markus Spiske, Unsplash

About the project

Advances in information and communication technology (ICT), and
in artificial intelligence (AI), and their subsequent rapid uptake by society at large has significantly changed linguistic communication in a variety of ways.

An important and underexplored question is what the impact of these changes is on the nature of linguistic meaning and communication, and on the fundamental concepts that underpin our accounts of language use.

One answer is Revisionism: the view that these developments have substantially changed the nature of linguistic meaning and communication, and that many of our concepts and theories require revision. But which phenomena motivate revisionism and what might these revisions be? The central aim of the project is to answer these questions.


We will address the following questions:

1. What are the meanings of new communicative devices that arise in online/digital communicative environments (ODEs), like hashtags and hyperlinks?

2. What are the felicity conditions of the new kinds of speech acts that form part of our ODEs?

3. How should we account for the content of "speech" produced by bots and AIs – can they lie or mislead? What is it to mislead online? 

4. How has online and digital communication changed the nature or prominence of existing speech acts, like assertion?

5. Are our current notions of "utterance'", "context", "discourse" and "information structure" up to the task of understanding meaning and communication in ODEs? Are they sufficient to account for context- or discourse- sensitivity in online communication?


The Research Council of Norway, a SAMKUL-project



01.08.2020 to 31.07.2024

Published Sep. 1, 2020 2:22 PM - Last modified Sep. 7, 2020 10:19 AM