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511 PRAGMATICS See also African American English Ethnicity Indian- American Humor Jewish Humor and Spanish-American Contrasts by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen.

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Presentation on theme: "511 PRAGMATICS See also African American English Ethnicity Indian- American Humor Jewish Humor and Spanish-American Contrasts by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen."— Presentation transcript:

1 511 PRAGMATICS See also African American English Ethnicity Indian- American Humor Jewish Humor and Spanish-American Contrasts by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen

2 512

3 3 It was on this date that Donatis comet was visible over large parts of Southern England. The comet is barely visible in the picture. The people in the picture are not looking at the comet. They are gathering shells, talking to each other, or doing other unrelated things. Mey says that the comet is like pragmatics, which happens mostly beneath peoples levels of awareness. (Mey )

4 514 Pragmatics is the study of language in its social context. It assumes that words have different meanings in different contexts. For example, what is the meaning of club, spade, diamond, and heart? Or what is the meaning of King, Queen, Jack, Ace, or ten?

5 515

6 6 You might say that all of these words have different meanings in the social context of playing cards, but thats not the whole story. In Pinochle there are expressions like 100 Aces, 80 Kings, 60 Queens, 40 Jacks, and Jack of Diamonds and Queen of Spades that have special significance. And in Pinochle there is no two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine.

7 517 Consider also the word bridge. If youre playing cards, this word has a different meaning than if youre a dentist or a road builder. In cards, the bridge is the partner of the person who wins the bid. The bid winner plays both his hand and the hand of the bridge. And in Bridge, there are special meanings of to bid, to trump, to pass, and to finesse. And seven means seven; and there is no eleven, but in Dice, seven and eleven are craps, which means you win on the first throw but lose on all subsequent throws with these numbers.

8 518 And in Poker, things get really wild. The Joker is always wild; but One-Eyed Jacks might be wild or not. And there is a raw deal, and a big deal, and the New Deal, in politics. And there are straights, flushes, and full houses; and there is Stud Poker, Draw Poker, Texas Hold Em, and Strip Poker. And a person can ante up, into the kitty, be in or out, and can hold, fold or raise.

9 519 And in 21 Poker, an Ace can count as either one or eleven, and all face cards count as ten. And in Hearts, the hearts count one point, and the Queen of Spades counts 27 points. And you want to get as few points as possible. Unless you think you can get all of the points. Only for Alice in Wonderland could it be more complicated.

10 5110 DIALECTS OF FORMALITY Frozen: Prissy Text Book Formal: Most Text Books Consultative: Conversations among Strangers or Large Groups Casual: Conversations among Close Friends Intimate: Conversations among Family Members or Lovers Martin Joos The Five Clocks:

11 5111 DISAMBIGUATION Explain how context could help to disambiguate the following: He waited by the bank. Is he really that kind? The proprietor of the fish store was the sole owner. The long drill was boring. When he got the clear title to the land, it was a good deed.

12 5112 It takes a good ruler to make a straight line. He saw that gasoline can explode. You should see her shop. Every man loves a woman. Bill wants to marry a Norwegian woman.

13 5113 OBSCENITIES Obscenities are based on taboos, and taboos are culturally determined and change through time. The religious right is offended by words relating to certain body parts and functions, or other vulgarities, obscenities, profanities, swearing, etc. The liberal left is offended by words degrading to particular genders, ethnicities, disabilities, etc.

14 5114 Something obscene in one culture is not obscene in a different culture. Consider the following: derriere fag or faggot Grand Tetons Mountain Range solicitor to knock someone up NOTE: Refined foreign students discussing American slang often dont realize the power of American obscenities

15 5115 The name Voldemort is taboo and is not to be uttered by anyone at Hogwarts Academy. The words corset, shirt, leg, and woman used to be taboo words in English. In Shaws Pygmalion, Professor Higgins asked, Are you walking across the Park, Miss Doolittle? and Eliza Doolittle responded, Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi. This use of bloody startled London when the play was first produced in (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 443)

16 5116 FOUR-LETTER WORDS English has many Anglo-Saxon or four letter words; however for each of these it is possible to find a Latinate paraphrase that is more polite. Think without speaking of the four-letter words associated with each of the following:

17 5117 Defecate Eliminate Expectorate Feces Fornicate Intercourse Mammary gland Penis Vagina (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 244)

18 5118 ORIENTATION Charles Fillmore says that a three-dimensional box has six sides. But if you put it on the floor, it has four sides and a top and a bottom. And if you place it against a wall, it has two sides a top a bottom and a front and a back. And if you put drawers in it, it has a right side, a left side, a top, a bottom, a front and a back. And right and left are your right and left as you face it, not the dressers right and left which is facing you.

19 5119 PIDGINS AND CREOLES Pidgins and creoles tend to be quite metaphorical and poetic. Here are some examples: Fella belong Mrs. Queen = Prince Philip, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II muckamuck = to eat, drink, or pucker the mouth him brother belong me = friend lamp belong Jesus = sun gubmint catchum-fella = policeman grass belong face = whiskers him belly allatime burn = thirsty man him cow pig have kittens = Has the Masters sow given birth to a litter yet? (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] )

20 5120 Haitian Creole is a creole based on French. Jamaican Creole is a creole based on English. Gullah is an English-based creole spoken by descendants of African slaves off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. Louisiana Creole is spoken in Louisiana. Tok Pisin as a Melanesian Pidgin English spoken in Papua, New Guinea. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 437)

21 5121 PRECONDITIONS FOR SPEECH ACTS Explain how linguistic and social context help in understanding the following sentences: You make a better door than a window. Its getting late. The restaurants are open until midnight. If youd diet, this wouldnt hurt so badly. I thought I saw a fan in the closet.

22 5122 Mr. Smith dresses neatly, is well-groomed, and is always on time to class. Most of the food is gone. John or Mary made a mistake. Did you make a doctors appointment? Do you have the play tickets? Does your grandmother have a live-in boyfriend? How did you like the string quartet? What are Bostons chances of winning the World Series?

23 5123 Do you own a cat? LAURA: Did you mow the grass and wash the car like I told you to? JACK: I mowed the grass. LAURA: Do you want dessert? JACK: Is the Pope Catholic? When did you stop paying alimony to your ex-wife? (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 219)

24 5124 SLANG, JARGON AND ARGOT Slang, Jargon and Argot are all gate-keeping languages used as much to identify members of a particular group as to communicate. Slang is age relatedmainly high school and college students. Jargon is profession relatedevery profession has its own jargon. Argot is underworld relatedits designed to communicate to the group and not to the authorities. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] )

25 5125 Carl Sandburg said, Slang is language which takes off its coat, spits on its handsand goes to work. SLANG EXAMPLES: spaced out, right on, to barf, to dis someone, rave (wild party), ecstasy (drug), crib (home), posse (friends) JARGON EXAMPLES: phoneme, morpheme, case, lexicojn, phrase structure rule ARGOT EXAMPLES: He was hoopty around dimday when some mud duck with a tray-eight tried to take him out of the box. TRANSLATION: He was in his car about dusk when a woman armed with a.38 caliber gun tried to kill him. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] )

26 5126 THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF MEANING Penelope Eckert said, the use of variation does not simply reflect, but constructs, social categories and social meaning. (Eckert 4)

27 5127 SOCIAL-VARIABILITY IN LINGUISTIC RULES Minimal Pairs Word Lists Reading Style Careful Speech Casual Speech (William Labovs Categories)

28 5128 WEBSTERS THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY This dictionary, published in 1961, was the first major dictionary that obliterated the older distinction between standard, substandard, colloquial, vulgar, and slang. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 418) Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Explain.

29 5129 NORTHERN, MIDLAND & SOUTHERN EXPANSION WESTWARD (Shuy 294)

30 5130 PHONOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES greasy [grizi] with [wIð] spoon (noon) [spjun] creek [krIk] roof [rUf] However, wash with an intrusive [r] is not so much regional as rural.

31 5131 PHONOLOGICAL DISTINCTIONS THAT ARE BECOMING LOST cot-caught witch-which mourning – morning However, pin-pen is remaining stable.

32 5132 BRITISH-AMERICAN PRONUNCIATION DIFFERENCES calf, bath, pass, aunt learn, fork, core, brother carry, very either, neither, potato, tomato clerk, schedule captain, bottle (glottals [in Cockney]) (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 454)

33 5133 BRITISH-AMERICAN STRESS DIFFERENCES aluminumapplicable cigarettedictionary formidablekilometer laboratorynecessary missionarysecretary stationeryterritory (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 413)

34 5134 CALIFORNIA VALLEY-GIRL AND SURFER-DUDE SPEECH Rising Inflections (like Australian English) Animated Body Language (like sticking a finger down the throat) Specialized Vocabulary (like dude, esp. relating to shopping malls, the beach, and personality types)

35 5135 CANADIAN PHONOLOGY out and about the house schedule Canadian -eh

36 5136 NEW ENGLAND PHONOLOGY lot (New England) park the car; Cuba-r-is merry – marry – Mary calf (pass, path, dance) Brooklyn: dis, dat, dese, dose, dem

37 5137 SOUTHERN PHONOLOGY Mrs. [mIz] hog (frog, dog, Deputy Dog) south => souf during => doin, and going => gon, help => hep test => tes ring => rang, boy => boah, car => cah POlice nasal twang (Texas and Oklahoma) southern drawl (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 423)

38 5138 GRAMMAR DIFFERENCES Double Modals: might could Negative Modals: hadnt ought Strange Past Participles: larnt Strange Possessive Pronouns: yourn, hisn, hern, ourn, theirn Strange Prepositions: a quarter before eight Strange Conjunctions: unless => without, lessen, thouten Strange Adverbs: anywheres, nowheres (Fromkin Rodman Hyams )

39 5139 VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES What do you fry your eggs in? creeper, fryer, frying pan, fry pan, skillet, or spider What do you call a soft drink? pop, soda, soda pop, or tonic? What do you call a long sandwich containing salami etc.? hero, submarine, hoagy, grinder or poorboy

40 5140 What do you drink water out of? drinking fountain, cooler, bubbler or geyser How do you get something from one place to another? take, carry, or tote What do you carry things in? a bag, a sack, or a poke How do you speculate? reckon, guess, figgure, figger, suspect, imagine (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 414)

41 5141 BRITISH-AMERICAN VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES bird, bobby, bonnet, boot, braces, clothes peg, first floor, flat, lift, lorry, nickers, peruque, petrol, pram, pub, public school, queue, spanner, tele, torch, trousers, tube, westcoat girl, cop, hood (of a car), trunk (of a car), suspenders, clothes pin, second floor, apartment, elevator, truck, underwear, wig, gasoline, baby buggy, bar, private school, line, monkey wrench, television, flashlight, pants, subway, vest (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 414, 456)

42 5142 SOUTHERN VOCABULARY chitlins and grits to buy a pig in a poke Carry me Back to Old Virginie

43 5143 BRITISH-AMERICAN SPELLING DIFFERENCES Cheque centre, theatre colour, honour defence, offence labelled, travelled Pyjamas tyre

44 5144 BRITISH EXPRESSIONS TO WATCH OUT FOR fag or faggot (wood for the fireplace, or cigarette) soliciter (lawyer) to knock someone up (wake them up in the morning)

45 5145 COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG apples and pears (stairs) Aristotle (bottle) pigs ear (beer) Mother Hubbard (cupboard) plates and dishes (Mrs.)

46 5146 ETHNIC HUMOR TO INVESTIGATE STEREOTYPES

47 5147 HEAVEN AND HELL In Heaven, all the cooks are French; all the mechanics are German; all the musicians are Italian. In Hell, all the cooks are English; all the mechanics are French; all the soldiers are Italian.

48 5148 BRITISH DIALECT ETHNICITY A guy wakes up, finds himself in a British hospital, and says, Did I come here to die? The Cokney nurse responds, No, I think it was yesterdie.

49 5149 BRONX DIALECT ETHNICITY In a New York City Park one guy turns to another guy and says, Look at de boids. The other guy says, Those arent boids. Theyre birds. The first guy says, Cheez, dats funny, dey choip like boids.

50 5150 LIGHTBULB JOKES TO INVESTIGATE STEREOTYPES How many New Yorkers? Three: One to do it and two to criticize. How many grad students? Three: Two, plus a professor to take the credit How many Jewish mothers? None: Ill just sit in the dark. (Nilsen & Nilsen 176)

51 51 !SOUTHERN ETHNICITY A radio comedian once remarked that the Mason-Dixon line is the dividing line between you-all and youse-guys. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 412)

52 5152 !!COMEDY TEAMS ARE ETHNICALLY OR GENDER DETERMINED 43 out of the 500 entries in Ronald L. Smiths Whos Who in Comedy are about comedy teams. There are many reasons for this high number: Teams are often more recognized and more memorable than are the individuals who make up the teams.

53 5153 !!!Good chemistry enhances creativity and enjoyment. Through interacting with each other, team members can revitalize old gags. Differing appearances, personalities and voices provide for contrast and for the efficient creation of stock characters. With teams, audiences can enjoy both surprise and anticipation because while teams do new material they usually have a style that carries over from one performance to another. (Nilsen & Nilsen 82)

54 5154 PRAGMATICS WEB SITE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRAGMATICS (JOHN BENJAMINS):

55 5155 References: Alvarez, Lizette Alvarez. Its the Talk of Nueva York: The Hybrid called Spanglish (Clark, ). Apte, Mahadev L. Humor and Laughter: An Anthropological Approach. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, Boskin, Joseph. Rebellious Laughter: Peoples Humor in American Culture. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press,1997. Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, Clark, Virginia, Paul Eschholz, and Alfred Rosa. Language: Readings in Language and Culture, 6th Edition. New York, NY: St. Martins Press, Davies, Christie. Jokes and Their Relation to Society. New York, NY: Mouton, 1998.

56 5156 Dolitsky, Marlene. Humor and the Unsaid. Journal of Pragmatics 7 (1983): Dundes, Alan. Cracking Jokes: Studies of Sick Humor Cycles and Stereotypes. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, Dundes, Alan, and Carl R. Pagter. Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing: Still More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Detroit, MI: Wayne State Univ Press, Dundes, Alan, and Carl R. Pagter. Sometimes the Dragon Wins: Yet More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ Press, Dundes, Alan, and Carl R. Pagter. When Youre Up to Your Ass in Alligators…: More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Detroit, MI: Wayne State Univ Press, Dundes, Alan, and Carl R. Pagter. Work Hard and You Shall be Rewarded: Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univ Press, 1975.

57 5157 Eckert, Penelope. Constructing Meaning in Sociolinguistic Variation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Associatin in New Orleans, Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009 Fromkin, Victoria, Robert Rodman, and Nina Hyams. Language and Society. An Introduction to Language, 8th Edition. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007; 9 th Edition, 2011, Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Bahavior. Garolen City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, Kotthoff, Helga. Pragmatics of Performance and the Analysis of Conversational Humor. HUMOR 19.3 (2006):

58 5158 Labov, William. Social Stratification of English in New York City. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, Mey, Jacob. Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2 nd Edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell, Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20 th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, Nilsen, Don L. F. Humor in Irish Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996.

59 5159 Raskin, Victor: Introduction: The Pragmatics of Humor. Journal of Pragmatics 35 (2003): Raskin, Victor. The Primer of Humor Research. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter, 2008 Shuy, Roger. Dialects: How They Differ (Clark, ). Yamaguchi, Haruhiko. How to Pull Strings with Words: Deceptive Violations in the Garden-Path Joke. Journal of Pragmatics 12 (1988): Yus, Francisco. Humor and the Search for Relevance. Journal of Pragmatics 35 (2003):


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