Vol. 37 No. 1 (1989)
Research Article

Comments on Two Papers on the Semantics of Proper Names

Published 1989-06-01



In September 1985, papers on the semantics of proper names, by Bengt Pamp and Vibeke Dalberg, appeared in Names. noth authors discuss the question whether there are “semi-appellatival” proper names, arriving at different answers, depending on their different views on the kind of meaning of proper names. Pamp uses the term semantic feature in an unconventional way, referring to the individual speaker's associations awakened by the name. Dalberg fails to hit a point, namely that one can talk about names that possess appellatival (descriptive) meaning, but only in the case the speaker in question is already informed of the properties of the denotatum. Dalberg is correct in saying that, theoretically, there is a demarcation line between appellatives and proper names. The essential criterion of a proper name is that it lacks classifying properties (generalizing power) and reference conditions.


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