Presentation on theme: "Chapter Eight Language in Use. Speaker ’ s meaning/ Utterance Meaning meaning in use (A father is trying to get his 3-year-old daughter to stop lifting."— Presentation transcript:
Chapter Eight Language in Use
Speaker ’ s meaning/ Utterance Meaning meaning in use (A father is trying to get his 3-year-old daughter to stop lifting up her dress to display her new underwear to the assemble.) Father: We don ’ t DO that. Daughter: I KNOW, Daddy. You don ’ t WEAR dresses.
1. A: Are you going to the seminar? B: It ’ s on linguistics. 2. A: Would you like some coffee? B: Coffee would keep me awake.
A: You are a fool! B: What do you mean? What does B want to know? Any one of Leech ’ s seven meanings? No. B wants to know the UTTERANCE MEANING instead of the meaning in its semantic sense.
Semantic meaning: the more constant, inherent side of meaning Pragmatic meaning: the more indeterminate, the more closely related to context
Contextual Meaning: meaning in context The meaning of the sentence depends on who the speaker is, who the hearer is, when and where it is used. Speaker ’ s meaning; utterance meaning
Definition of Pragmatics The study of language in use. The study of meaning in context. The study of speakers ’ meaning, utterance meaning, & contextual meaning.
1. Speech Act Theory John Austin ( ) How to Do Things with Words (1962) speech acts: actions performed via utterances
1.1 Two types of sentences Constatives: utterances which roughly serves to state a fact, report that something is the case, or describe what something is, e.g.: I go to the park every Sunday. I teach English.
Performatives: utterances which are used to perform acts, do not describe or report anything at all; the uttering of the sentence is the doing of an action; they cannot be said to be true or false. Performative verbs: name, bet, etc.
I do. I name this ship Queen Elizabeth. I bet you sixpence it will rain tomorrow. I give and bequeath my watch to my brother. I promise to finish it in time. I apologize. I declare the meeting open. I warn you that the bull will charge.
Felicity conditions: A. (i) There must be a relevant conventional procedure. (ii) the relevant participants and circumstances must be appropriate. B. The procedure must be executed correctly and completely. C. Very often, the relevant people must have the requisite thoughts, feelings and intentions, and must follow it up with actions as specified.
Minister: addressing the groom) (Groom ’ s Name), do you take (Bride ’ s Name) for your lawful wedded wife, to live together after God ’ s ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honor, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live? Groom: I do.
But, in some cases we don ’ t need to satisfy felicity conditions to produce a performative. I promise. I give my word for it. ( No strict procedure for promising. )
Features of performatives First person singular Speech act verbs / performative verbs: The present tense Indicative mood Active voice
BUT, counter examples: I promise to be there. I ’ ll be there. I admit I was wrong. I was foolish. I warn you, this gun is loaded. This gun is loaded. I thank you. I ’ m very grateful. I apologize. I ’ m sorry. I order you to sit down. You must sit down.
Conclusion: The distinction between constatives & performatives cannot be maintained. All sentences can be used to do things.
1.2 Illocutionary Act Theory Speech acts can be analyzed on 3 levels: A locutionary act: the act of saying something in the full sense of “ say ”. Morning! Shoot the snake. I ’ ll come tomorrow.
An illocutionary act: an act performed in saying something. To say sth is to do sth. In saying “ I will come tomorrow ”, I was making a promise. llocutionary force/meaning is equivalent to speaker ’ s meaning, contextual meaning, or extra meaning.
A perlocutionary act: the act preformed by or as a result of saying, the effects on the hearer. By saying “ I will come tomorrow ” and making a promise, my friends would be reassured. The perlocutionary act is NOT related to the speaker ’ s intention.
Speech act An utterance as a functional unit in communication. In speech act theory, utterances have two kinds of meaning: Propositional meaning (also known as locutionary meaning). This is the basic literal meaning of the utterance which is conveyed by the particular words and structures which the utterance contains. Illocutionary meaning (also known as illocutionary force). This is the effect the speaker wants to have on the listener. A speech act is a utterance which has both locutionary meaning and illocutionary force. There are many kinds of speech acts, such as requests, orders, commands, complaints, promises.
Locutionary act, illocutionary act, perlocutionary act A distinction is made by Austin in the theory of speech acts between three types of act involved in an utterance. A LOCUTIONARY ACT is the saying of something which is meaningful and can be understood. For example, shoot the snake is a locutionary act when hearers understand the words shoot, the, snake, and can understand the sentence meaning. An ILLOCUTIONARY ACT is using a sentence to perform a function. for example, shoot the snake may be intended as an order or a piece of advice. A PERLOCUTIONARY ACT is the effect or result that has been produced by the utterance. For example, shooting the snake would be a perlocutionary act.
2. Conversational Implicature “ Oh, quite well, I think. He likes his colleagues, and he hasn ’ t been to prison yet. ” People do not usually say things directly but tend to imply them.
Grice ’ s theory Conversation Implicature is an attempt at explaining how a hearer gets from what is said to what is implied.
Make your contribution such as required ， at the stage at which it occurs ， by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. 使你所说的话，在其所发生的阶段，符合你 所参与的交谈的公认目的或方向。 2.1 The Cooperative Principle (CP)
CP is further specified with four maxims.: Maxim of Quality: Do not say what you believe to be false. Do not say something if you lack adequate evidence;
Maxim of Quantity: Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purposes of the exchange). Do not make your contribution more informative than required. Maxim of Relation: Be relative. Maxim of Manner: Be perspicuous. Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. Be brief. Be orderly.
CP is meant to describe what actually happens in conversation: when we speak we generally have something like CP and its maxims in our mind to guide us, though subconsciously, or even unconsciously. People tend to be cooperative and obey CP in communication. We will say something that is true, relevant, informative, and in clear manner. Hearers will also interpret what is said to them in this way.
However, CP is often violated. Violation of CP and its maxims leads to conversational implicature. Conversational implicatures can be worked out on the basis of the CP.
2.2 Violation of the maxims (Quantity) Violation of the maxim of Quantity 1 Make your contribution as informative as is required. Dear Sir, Mr. X ’ s command of English is excellent, and his attendance at tutorials has been regular. Yours > Mr. X is not suitable for the job.
2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. Aunt: How did Jimmy do his history exam? Mother: Oh, not at all well. Teachers asked him things that happened before the poor boy was born. > Her son should not be blamed.
Violation of the maxim of Quality 1. Do not say what you believe to be false. He is made of iron.
2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. A: Beirut is in Peru, isn ’ t it? B: And Rome is in Romania, I suppose. > An irony
Violation of the maxim of Relation Be relevant. A: Prof. Wang is an old bag. B: Nice weather for the time of year. > I don ’ t want to talk about Prof. Wang.
Violation of the maxim of Manner 1. Avoid obscurity of expression A: Let ’ s get the kids something. B: Ok, but I veto C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. > Don ’ t give them chocolate.
2. Avoid ambiguity A: Name and title, please? B: John Smith, Associate Editor and professor.
3. Be brief A: Did you get my assignment? B: I received two pages clipped together and covered with rows of black squiggles. > not satisfied.
2.3 Characteristics of implicature Calculability: hearers work out implicature based on literal meaning, CP and its maxims, context, etc.
Cancellability / defeasibility: If the linguistic or situational contexts changes, the implicature will also change. A: Do you want some coffee? B: Coffee would keep me awake. I do not like coffee. B: Coffee would keep me awake. I want to stay up.
Non-detachability: implicature is attached to the semantic content of what is said, not to the linguistic form; implicatures do not vanish if the words of an utterance are changed for synonyms. A: Shall we go the cinema tonight? B: There ’ ll be an exam tomorrow. I ’ ll take an exam tomorrow. Isn ’ t there an exam tomorrow?
Non-conventionality: implicature is different from its conventional meaning of words. It is context-dependent. It varies with context. A1 ：下午踢球去吧！ A2 ：老王住院了？ B ：上午还在换草皮。 A3: 足球场安装了一个新门柱。
Conversational implicature is a type of implied meaning, which is deduced on the basis of the convertional meaning of words together with the context, under the guidance of the CP and its maxims. It is similar to illocutionary force in speech act theory in that they are both concerned with the contextual side of meaning The two theories differ in the mechanisms they offer for explaining the generation of context meaning.
3. Post-Gricean Developments Relevance Theory: Dan Sperber (Jean Nicod Institute) Deirdre Wilson (UCL) The Q- and R-principles: Laurence Horn (Yale) The Q-, I- and M-principles: Stephen Levinson (Max Planck)
Relevance theory is a proposal that seeks to explain how speakers and hearers are making interpretive inferences of communication. inferences It argues that the human mind will instinctively react to an encoded message by considering information that it conceives to be relevant to the message. The core of the theory is the “ communicative principle of relevance ”, which states that any utterance addressed to someone automatically conveys the presumption of its own optimal relevance. That is, (a) implicit messages are relevant enough to be worth bothering to process, and (b) the speaker will be as economical as they possibly can be in communicating it.
6.2 The Q- and R-principles Laurence Horn (1984): Toward a New Taxonomy for Pragmatic more extensive than the Gricean maxims The Q-principle (Hearer-based): MAKE YOUR CONTRIBUTION SUFFICIENT (cf. Quantity 1 ) SAY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN (given R) The R-principle (Speaker-based): MAKE YOUR CONTRIBUTION NECESSARY (cf. Relation, Quantity 2, Manner) SAY NO MORE THAN YOU MUST (given Q) The Q-principle is concerned with the content. The speaker who follows this principle supplies the sufficient information. The R-principle is concerned with the form. The speaker who employs this principle uses the minimal form, so that the hearer is entitled to infer that the speaker means more than he says.
6.3 The Q-, I- and M-principles Stephen Levinson (1987) In his view, the maxims of Quantity have to do with the quantity of information, so he renames the second maxim of Quantity the Principle of Informativeness, or I-Principle; and the first maxim of Quantity the Principle of Quantity, or Q-Principle. As to M-principle, he makes a distinction between two kinds of minimization: a semantic minimization (the more general terms are more minimal in meaning, having more restricted connotation in contrast to the more extended denotation) and an expression minimization (concerned with the phonetic and morphological make-up of a term). Only the semantic minimization has to do with the I-principle. The expression minimization, in contrast, is the domain of the principle of manner
Anaphora （照应） : a process where a word or phrase (anaphor) refers back to another word or phrase which was used earlier in a text or conversation. Pronouns can be anaphors, such as “ it ” in “ Tom likes ice- cream but Bill don ’ t like it ”. Some verbs can be anaphors too, such as “ do ” in “ Mary works hard and so does Jane. ”
Deictic （指别） : a term for a word or phrase which directly relates an utterance to a time, place, or persons. Examples of deictic expressions in English are here, there, you, he, she, they.