Pragmatics by george yule
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PRAGMATICS George Yule
1. DEFINITIONS AND BACKGROUNDThe study of contextual meaning communicated by a speaker or writer, and interpreted by a listener or reader. (G.Yule)The study of the relation of signs to their interpreters. (Charles Morris)The study of the relations between linguistic forms and its users()Only pragmatics allows humans into the analysis: their assumptions, purposes, goals, and actions they perform while speaking. (G.Yule)
PRAGMATICS IS1- THE STUDY OF SPEAKER MEANING WHAT PEOPLE MEAN by their utterances rather than what the words or phrases might mean by themselves.
2- The study of contextual meaning
Importance of the CONTEXT: the circumstances and the audience or public.
3-The study of how more gets communicated than said.
The INFERENCES made by listeners or readers in order to arrive at an interpretation of the intended meaning.A great deal of what is UNSAID is recognized as part of what is communicated. The study of invisible meaning
4-The study of the expression of relative distance
The CLOSENESS or DISTANCE of the listener or reader determines how much needs to be said.For example: A: there is a store over there (Lets go inside)B: no (I dont want to go inside)A: why not? (why do you not want to go inside?)B: Im tired. (I dont want to because Im tired.)
IN OTHER WORDSPRAGMATICS studies HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF EACH OTHER LINGUISTICALLY.For example: A: So_ did you?B: Hey_ who wouldnt?Two friends in a conversation may imply some things and infer some others without providing any clear linguistic evidence. So, pragmatics requires us to make sense of what people have in mind.
REGULARITYLuckily, people tend to behave in fairly REGULAR ways when it comes to using language. As part of social groups we follow general expected patterns of behaviour.
For example: I found an old bike. The chain was rusted and the tyres flat. It would be pragmatically odd to say: I found an old bike. A bike has a chain. The chain was rusted. A bike aslo has tyres. The tyres were flat.
2.DEIXIS and DISTANCE DEIXIS: pointing via langauge To accomplish this pointing we use deictic expressions or indexicals.i.e: Whats that? (used to indicate sth. in the immediate context.)Deictic expressions depend on the speaker and hearer sharing the same spatial context, in face-to face spoken interaction.
Types of indexicalsPerson deixis: used to point people. (me, you)Spatial deixis: used to point location (here, there).Temporal dexis: used to point location in time (now, then).i.e: Ill put this here, ok?
PERSON DEIXISThere are 3 categories: SPEAKER (I)ADDRESSEE (YOU)OTHERS (HE- SHE-IT- THEY)SOCIAL DEIXIS: forms used to indicate relative social status. In many languages deictic categories become markers of relative social status. HONORIFICS: expressions that mark that the addressee is of higher status.
Examples of SOCIAL DEIXISIn Spanish the T- Usted distinction.The choice of one form will communicate something, not directly said, about the speakers view of his relation with the addressee.The higher, older and more powerful speaker will tend to use the t and viceversa. Nowadays, the age distinction remains more powerful than the economic distinction in many countries.
Using the 3rd person formCommunicates distance and non-familiarity. Also, it has an ironic or humorous purpose.i.e: Would his highness like some coffee?Also used to make accusations:Somebody didnt clean up after himself (less direct than You didnt clean
SPATIAL DEIXISForms used to point to LOCATIONi.e: Here and There Come and Go
PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCEWhen speakers mark how close or distant something is perceived to be.i.e: That man over there implies psychological distance.DEICTIC PROJECTION: when speakers act as if they are somewhere else.i.e: Im not here now. (telephone answering machine)Recording is a performance for a future audience in which I project my presence to be in the required location.
TEMPORAL DEIXISForms used to point to location in time.i.e: now - thenIn contrast to now, the distal expression then applies to both past and future time relative to the speakers present time.i.e: I was in Scotland thenIll see you then
DEIXIS AND GRAMMARThe distinctions for person, spatial, and temporal deixis can be seen at work in English grammar structures such as DIRECT and INDIRECT (reported)SPEECH.
i.e: Are you planning to be here this evening? I asked her.
REPORTED FORMI asked her if she was planing to be there that eveningThere s a shift from the near speaker meaning of direct speech to the away from speaker meaning of reported speech, with the use of DISTAL DEICTIC forms.
3. REFERENCE AND INFERENCEREFERENCE: an act in which a speaker or writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener or reader, to identify something.Words in themselves do not refer anything. People refer.REFERRING EXPRESSIONS: linguistic forms like proper nouns, definite or indefinite noun phrases, and pronouns. The choice of one type of these expressions rather than another is based on what the speaker assumes the listener already knows.
FOR EXAMPLE:Look at him (use of pronoun)The woman in red (definite article)A woman was looking at you (indefinite article and pronoun) So, reference is tied to the speakers goals and beliefs about the listener knowledge in the use of language.
INFERENCEFor successful reference to occur, we must recognize the role of INFERENCE and COLLABORATION between speaker and listener in thinking what the other has in mind.Sometimes we use vague expressions relying on the listeners ability to infer what referent we have in mind:i.e: The blue thing, That stuffWe sometimes even invent names.
PRAGMATIC CONNECTIONA conventional association between a persons name and a kind of object within a socio-culturally defined community. i.e: Can I borrow your Shakespeare?Picassos on the far wallGiven the context, the intended and inferred referent is not a person but probably a book.
THE ROLE OF CO-TEXTCo- text: the linguistic environment in which a word is used.The co-text clearly limits our range of possible interpretations we might have for a word.i.e: Brazil wins World CupBrazil would be the referring expression, and the rest of the sentence the co-text.
CO- TEXT Just a linguistic part of the environment in which a referring expression is used.CONTEXTThe physical environment in which a word is used.
GUESS THE CONTEXT FOR THESE REFERRING EXPRESSIONS Your ten-thirty just cancelled.
The heart-attack mustnt be moved
A couple of rooms have complained about the heat
ANAPHORIC REFERENCEThe expressions used to maintain reference to something or someone already mentioned. i.e: A man was looking at us. He then disappeared.The initial reference is often indefinite (A man) and is called the ANTECEDENT. The subsequent reference is definite or a prononun (He) and is called ANAPHORA.
5. MAXIMS of the COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE1- QUANTITY: Make your contribution as INFORMATIVE as required. Do NOT make it more informative than required.2-QUALITYMake your contribution TRUE. Do NOT say what you believe is false. Do NOT say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
3- RELATION: Be relevant.4- MANNER: Be perspicuous:Avoid obscurity of expressionAvoid ambiguity.Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity)Be orderly.
These maxims should be recognized as unstated assumptions we have in conversationsHowever, there are certain expressions speakers use to mark that they may be in danger of NOT fully adhering to the principles.
HEDGES: cautious notes about how an utterance should be taken when giving information.
EXAMPLES OF HEDGES:Hedges of QUALITY: As far as I know, theyre married.I may be mistaken, but I thought I saw a wedding ring on her finger.Im not sure if this is right, but I heard it was a secret ceremony.He couldnt live without her, I guess
HEDGES OF QUANTITY: As you probably know, Im terrified of bugs
So, to cut a long story short, we grabbed our staff and run
I wont bore you with all the details, but it was an exciting trip
HEDGES OF RELEVANCE I dont know if this is important, but
This may sound like a dumb question, but
Not to change the subject, but Oh, by the wayWell, anyway
HEDGES OF MANNERThis may be a bit confused, but
Im not sure if this makes sense, but
I dont know if this is clear at all, but
CONVERSATIONAL IMPLICATUREThe basic assumption in conversation is that, otherwise indicated, the participants are adhering to the cooperative principle and the maxims.
The following examples show a speaker conveying more than he said via conversational implicature
a: I hope you brought the bread and cheese.b: Ah, I brought the bread.Speaker B assumes that A infersthat what is not mentioned was not brought.a: Do you like ice-cream?b: Is the Pope catholic?
CONVENTIONAL IMPLICATURESIn contrast to the previous implicatures, these ones are NOT based on the cooperative principles maxims.They do NOT have to occur in conversation and dont depend on special contexts for interpretation.They are associated with SPECIFIC WORDS and result in additional conveyed meanings.
For example: the English conjunctions BUT and ANDThe interpretation of any utterance with the word BUT will imply an implicature of CONTRAST and with AND an ADDITION.Mary suggested black, but I chose white.The words EVEN and YET also have conventional implicature. Even implies contrary to expectation.Yet implies that the present situation is expected to be differerent at a later time.
6. SPEECH ACTS and EVENTSActions performed via utterances are called Speech Acts. In Englis