Pejoration, normalcy conceptions and generic sentences

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Pejorative statements are often based on generic sentences. But what makes generic sentences so suitable for expressing pejoration? This article discusses the relevant properties of generics and their relation to a speaker’s normalcy conceptions (NC), i.e. to what a speaker considers to be normal w.r.t. to the world. What NC and generic sentences have in common is that they allow exceptions. This property is exploited when we use generic sentences for pejoration. In a pejorative statement, the basic pattern – which is indifferent to content – is filled with negative content and we arrive at our negative prejudices, typically expressed by generic sentences.


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