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PRAGMATICS – George Yule

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1 PRAGMATICS – George Yule




“The 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)


7 PRAGMATICS IS… 1- THE STUDY OF SPEAKER MEANING WHAT PEOPLE MEAN by their utterances rather than what the words or phrases might mean by themselves.


9 Semantics It is the study of meaning context free. It says how words literary are connected to things. Semantic analysis makes relationship between descriptions and status of affair in the world. Regardless of how produce that regards.

10 Syntax It is the study of relationship between linguistic forms, how they are arranged in a sequence and which sequence is well-formed. It takes place without any attention to the reference or users of it (the form).

11 What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying language via pragmatics?
The most important advantages are the clarification of speaker intention, their assumptions, their purposes and kinds of actions (e.g. request) that are performing when they speak. The main disadvantage is that this is very difficult to analyze all aspects of human in a consistent and objective way.

12 2- The Study of Contextual Meaning
Importance of the CONTEXT: The circumstances and the audience or public.

13 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”

14 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 (Let‘s go inside) B: no (I don‘t want to go inside) A: why not? (why do you not want to go inside?) B: I‘m tired. (I don‘t want to because I‘m tired.)

15 IN OTHER WORDS… PRAGMATICS studies HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF EACH OTHER LINGUISTICALLY. For example: A: So_ did you? B: Hey_ who wouldn’t? 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.

16 REGULARITY Luckily, 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.”

17 1. More was being communicated than was being said. 2
1.More was being communicated than was being said. 2.Nothing in the use of the language forms is inaccurate, but getting the pragmatics wrong might be offensive.

18 Context Environment in which a referring expression is used is called context. For example, when in the center of a city you see the word “Bank” on a building you feel that Bank means a financial institute. Here the physical context helped you to understand the meaning of the word.

19 Co-text Co-text of a word is the set of other words used in the same phrase or sentence before or after that word. The surrounding co- text has a strong effect on what we think the word probably means. For example, in the sentence: ”the bank will be opened soon“ the co-text help us to understand the intended meaning of the word “bank”. The co-text clearly limits the range of possible interpretations we might have for a word. Of course, co-text is just a linguistic part of the environment in which a referring expression is used. The physical environment, or context, is perhaps more easily recognized as having a powerful impact on how words are to be interpreted.

20 2.DEIXIS and DISTANCE DEIXIS: “pointing via langauge” To accomplish this pointing we use deictic expressions or indexicals. i.e: “What’s 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.


22 I played tennis. Then I went to the beach.
Each of the utterances above consists of two sentences. Think about the first utterance for a moment and ask yourself who the subject of both sentences is. You'll probably come to the conclusion that it is the same person ('I') in both sentences, but it is not possible to determine who exactly I refers to outside of an actual speech situation. When someone uses I in a real-life chat, you can see and hear that person, and therefore you are able to resolve who the word refers to. But outside of a real discourse situation, this is no longer possible. Words like I, which carry a meaning that can only be retrieved with access to the situation they are used in, are called deictic expressions and the phenomenon of expressions pointing to things in the context is known as deixis.

23 Types of indexicals Person 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: “I’ll put this here, ok?”

24 PERSON DEIXIS There 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.

25 Examples of SOCIAL DEIXIS
In Spanish the “Tú”- “Usted” distinction. The choice of one form will communicate something, not directly said, about the speaker’s view of his relation with the addressee. The higher, older and more powerful speaker will tend to use the “tú” and viceversa. Nowadays, the age distinction remains more powerful than the economic distinction in many countries.

26 Using the 3rd person form
Communicates 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 didn’t clean up after himself” (less direct than “You didn’t clean”

27 SPATIAL DEIXIS Forms used to point to LOCATION i.e: “Here” and “There” “Come” and “Go” PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCE When 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: “I´m 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.

28 TEMPORAL DEIXIS Forms used to point to location in time.
i.e: “now” - “then” In contrast to now, the distal expression then applies to both past and future time relative to the speaker’s present time. i.e: “I was in Scotland then” “I’ll see you then”

29 DEIXIS AND GRAMMAR The 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.

30 REPORTED FORM I asked her if she was planing to be there that evening
There’ 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.

REFERENCE: 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.

32 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 speaker’s goals and beliefs about the listener knowledge in the use of language.

33 INFERENCE For 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 listener’s ability to infer what referent we have in mind: i.e: “The blue thing”, “That stuff” We sometimes even invent names.

34 PRAGMATIC CONNECTION A conventional association between a person’s name and a kind of object within a socio-culturally defined community. i.e: “Can I borrow your Shakespeare?” “Picasso’s on the far wall” Given the context, the intended and inferred referent is not a person but probably a book.

35 THE ROLE OF CO-TEXT Co- 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 Cup” Brazil would be the referring expression, and the rest of the sentence the co-text.

36 CO- TEXT CONTEXT Just a linguistic part of the environment in which a referring expression is used. The physical environment in which a word is used.

“Your ten-thirty just cancelled.” The heart-attack mustn’t be moved” “A couple of rooms have complained about the heat”

38 ANAPHORIC REFERENCE The 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.


1- QUANTITY: Make your contribution as INFORMATIVE as required. Do NOT make it more informative than required. 2-QUALITY Make your contribution TRUE. Do NOT say what you believe is false. Do NOT say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

41 3- RELATION: Be relevant.
4- MANNER: Be perspicuous: Avoid obscurity of expression Avoid ambiguity. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity) Be orderly.

42 These maxims should be recognized as unstated assumptions we have in conversations
However, 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.

“ As far as I know, they’re married.” “I may be mistaken, but I thought I saw a wedding ring on her finger.” “I’m not sure if this is right, but I heard it was a secret ceremony.” “He couldn’t live without her, I guess”

44 HEDGES OF QUANTITY: “ As you probably know, I’m terrified of bugs” “ So, to cut a long story short, we grabbed our staff and run” “I won’t bore you with all the details, but it was an exciting trip”

45 HEDGES OF RELEVANCE “ I don’t know if this is important, but…”
“This may sound like a dumb question, but…” Not to change the subject, but…” “ Oh, by the way…” Well, anyway…”

46 HEDGES OF MANNER “This may be a bit confused, but…” “I’m not sure if this makes sense, but…” “I don’t know if this is clear at all, but…”

The 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

48 a: “I hope you brought the bread and cheese.”
b: “Ah, I brought the bread.” Speaker B assumes that A infers that what is not mentioned was not brought. a: “Do you like ice-cream?” b: “Is the Pope catholic?”

In contrast to the previous implicatures, these ones are NOT based on the cooperative principle’s maxims. They do NOT have to occur in conversation and don’t depend on special contexts for interpretation. They are associated with SPECIFIC WORDS and result in additional conveyed meanings.

50 For example: the English conjunctions BUT and AND
The 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.

51 6. SPEECH ACTS and EVENTS Actions performed via utterances are called Speech Acts. In English they are commonly known as: apology, compliment, complaint, invitation, promise, or request and apply to the speaker’s communicative intention. The circumstances surrounding the utterance are called the Speech Event and it’s their nature that determines the interpretation of an utterance as performing a particular speech act.

52 For example: “This tea is really cold!” This utterance can be interpreted as a complaint or as a praise, depending on the circumstances. (If it is winter or summer, a cold or a hot day, etc.)

53 SPEECH ACTS 1- The locutionary act: the basic act of utterance which produces a meaningful linguistic expression. If you have difficulty in producing a meaningful utterance (because it’s a foreign language or you’re tongue-tied), then you might fail to produce a locutionary act. Aha mokofa WHAT??

2. ILLOCUTIONARY ACT The communicative force of an utterance. We form an utterance with some kind of function in mind: An offer, a statement, a promise, a threat, etc. 3. THE PERLOCUTIONARY ACT: The effect of an utterance

55 Take the next utterance and state the illocutionary act/force.
“ I’ll see you later”

56 The same locutionary act can represent different illocutionary forces:
A prediction A warning A promise

57 IFIDs: Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices
How can the speaker assume that the intended illocutionary force wil be recognized by the hearer? IFIDs: Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices Felicity Conditions

58 IFIDs Felicity Conditions
The most common IFIDs are performative verbs: verbs that explicitly name the illocutionary act being performed. i.e: “I promise you that…” “I warn you that…” “I predict that…” Certain expected or appropiate circumstances for a speech act to be recognized as intended. i.e: “ I sentence you to six months of prison” If the speaker wasn’t a judge in a court, this performance would be infelicitous or inappropiate.

59 OTHER IFIDs Other Felicity conditions
Word order Stress Intonation i.e: “You’re going!” (I tell you) “You’re going?”( I request confirmation) “Are you going?”( I ask you if) General Conditions: on the participants, for example, that they can understand the same language, and that they aren’t play-acting or being non-sensical. Content Conditions: for example, a promise must be about a future event.

60 Preparatory Conditions: specific requirements prior to an utterance in order for it to count as a particular speech act. Sincerity conditions: requirements on the genuine intentions of a speaker. For example: for a promise, the speaker genuinely intends to carry out the future action.

61 The essential Condition:
A requirement that the utterance commits the speaker to the act performed. The utterance changes my state from non-obligation to obligation.

62 Speech Act Classification
1- DECLARATIONS: speech acts that change the world via an utterance. The speaker has to have a specific role, in a specific context, in order to perform a declaration appropiately. “I now pronounce you husband and wife” (Priest) “You’re out” (referee)

63 2- REPRESENTATIVES: speech acts that state what the speaker believes to be the case or not.
Statements of fact, assertions, conclusions, descriptions, etc. “The Earth is flat.” “Chomsky didn’t write about peanuts”.

64 3- EXPRESSIVES: speech acts that state what the speaker feels.
They express psychological states and can be statements of pleasure, pain, likes, dislikes, joy, or sorrow. “I’m really sorry!” “Congratulations!”

65 4- DIRECTIVES: speech acts used to get someone else to do sth.
They express what the speaker wants. They are: commands, orders, requests, suggestions. They can be positive or negative. “Gimme a cup of coffee. Make it black”. “Don’t touch that”. “Could you lend me a pen, please?”

66 5- COMMISSIVES: speech acts used by speakers to commit themselves to some future action.
They are: promises, threats, refusals, pledges, etc. “ I’ll be back”. “We are going to get it right next time.” “We won’t do that”.

DIRECT: when there’s a direct relationship between the structure (declarative, interrogative, imperative) and its communicative function (statement, question, commnad/request.) INDIRECT: Indirect relation between the structure and function.

68 Example of indirect speech acts:
“Move out of the way!” – (the only direct command.) “Do you have to stand in front of the T.V?”(A question functioning as an indirect command) “You’re standing in front of the T.V!”.( a declarative functioning as an indirect request)

A linguistic interaction is necessarily a social interaction. We take part in a wide range of interactions, mostly with strangers, where the social distance determined by external factors is dominant. However, there are other factors, like amount of imposition or degree of friendliness, which are often negotiated.

70 POLITENESS “Polite social behaviour” within a culture. We assume that participants in an interaction are generally aware of such cultural norms and principles of politeness. Face: the public self-image of a person. It refers to that emotional and social sense of self that everyone has and expects the other sto recognize. Politeness in an interaction can be defined as the means employed to show awareness of another person’s face.

71 Examples of social distance: respect or deference
“Excuse, Mr. Buckingham, can I talk to you for a second?” Social closeness: friendliness, camaraderie, or solidarity. “Hey, Bucky, got a minute?”

72 Face Wants: A person’s expectations that their pulic self-image will be respected.
If a speaker says sth. that represents a threat to another individual’s expectations, regarding self-image, it’s described as a face-threatening act. When someone says an utterance that avoids a potential threat t a person’s face, it’s called face-saving act. Example

73 A: “I’m going to tell him to stop that awful noise right now
A: “I’m going to tell him to stop that awful noise right now!!” (Face-threatening act) B: “Perhaps you could just ask him if he’s going to stop because it’s getting late and we need to sleep…” (Face- saving act)

74 Self and Other: Say nothing
Imagine you arrive at a lecture but you’ve forgotten a pen to take your notes. You think that teh person next to you may provide the solution. In this scenario, you’re going to be SELF, and the person next to you OTHER. You: (look in bag, rummage in, search in pockets) The Other: “Here, use this.”

75 That was called a “Say nothing approach”
Without uttering a word, you have the intention that your problem will be recognized. Many people prefer to have their needs recognized by others wihout having to express those needs in langauge. When those needs are in fact recognized, more has been communicated than was said.

76 Say something: Off and On record
“Uh, I forgot my pen” “Hmm, I wonder where I put my pen” These statements are not directly addressed t the other. The other can act as if they have not even been heard. Off record expressions: utterances not directly addressed t another one.

77 On record experssions: are direct address froms.
“Give me a pen” “Lend me your pen” These are known as bald on record- they’re the most direct approach, like the use of imperatives. Would you lend me a pen, please?” Here we use mitigating devices, like would and please, that soften the demand.

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