Opening conference

Signes, signifiés, concepts : pour un tournant philosophique en linguistique

Pr. Michele Prandi
Università degli Studi di Genova
Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere
Dipartimento DISAM, Sezione di Scienze del Linguaggio


Terminology after taking a linguistic turn, has become aware that the linguistic analysis of specialized texts, far from giving direct access to a universe of concepts, actually presupposes their prior mastery. Given this situation,. Michele Prandi preposes a two-part analysis drawn from his work in linguistics over the past years.

Both the lexical description of a language and the study of the meaning of complex expression, in particular of sentences, presuppose an independent access to a system of concepts and of shared conceptual relationships. It could be claimed that a grammar of forms must be supplemented by a grammar of concepts, and the most stable core of the latter is made up of what Michele Prandi calls a "natural ontology".


Michele Prandi is Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Genoa, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Doctor honoris causa from the University of Uppsala.

His research focuses on grammar and semantics of complex expressions - sentences, cross sentence relationships, text - the content of which is seen as the result of a complex interaction between linguistic encoding and inference, formal language and grammatical concepts, and linguistic analysis and conceptual figurative discourse.

Among his publications: Sémantique du contresens, Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1987 ; Grammaire philosophique des tropes, Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1992 (translated into Spanish as: Gramática filosófica de los tropos, Visor, Madrid 1995) ; The Building Blocks of Meaning, John Benjamins, Amsterdam / Philadelphia, 2004 ; La finalité : fondements conceptuels et genèse linguistique, De Boeck - Duculot, Brussels, 2004 (with Gaston Gross) ; La finalità. Strutture concettuali e forme di espressione in italiano, Leo S. Olschki, Florence, 2005 (adapted from the Italian by, Gaston Gross and Cristiana De Santis) ; Le regole e le scelte. Introduzione alla grammatical italiana, UTET, Turin, 2006.