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Boris Iomdin Russian Language Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
Lecture 11. Plan Semantics, syntactics, pragmatics Linguistic pragmatics Speech acts theory Taxonomy of illocutionary acts Performatives Indirect speech acts Speaker and Hearer in social hierarchies Gricean maxims for conversation Theory of implicatures
Pragmatics Ch. Morris, Foundations of the Theory of Signs, 1938 Formal relations of signs to one another: syntactics Relations of signs to objects: semantics Relations of signs to interpreters: pragmatics Linguistic pragmatics (Apresjan): Attitude of the Speaker… to the real world to the contents of his/her own message to the Hearer …contained in a lexical unit
Speaker and real world Assessments positive-negative much-little desirable-undesirable …
Speaker and message False-True certain probable doubtful improbable impossible Illocutionary force
Speech acts theory J. Searle, Speech acts: an essay in the philosophy of language, 1969 Talking is performing acts according to rules Uttering words and sentences = utterance acts Referring and predicating = propositional acts Stating, questioning, promising, … = illocutionary acts
Illocutionary acts. Taxonomy Purpose of the act. Examples: order: getting the Hearer to do something promise: obligation by the Speaker to do something Direction of fit Expressed psychological states (sincerity condition): belief intention …
Illocutionary acts. Taxonomy Force of strength with which the illocutionary point (purpose) is presented I suggest we go to the movies I insist that we go to the movies I solemnly swear that Bill stole the money I guess Bill stole the money Status or position of the Speaker and Hearer a general orders a private, a private asks a general
Illocutionary acts. Taxonomy Differences in the way the utterance relates to the interests of the Speaker and the Hearer Relations to the rest of the discourse I reply – I object – I conclude however – moreover – therefore Differences in propositional content Acts that must always be speech acts and acts that need not be speech acts congratulation – always a speech act conclusion – not necessarily
Illocutionary acts. Taxonomy Acts that require extra-linguistic knowledge excommunicate christen pronounce guilty … Style of performance Performatives
J. Austin, How to do things with words, 1965 I wish you a merry Christmas I accuse you of murder I advise you not to go there I assure you that he will not come I name this ship the “Queen Elizabeth” I pronounce you husband and wife A verb is called performative if its uttering (usually in 1 st person Present Singular) is equal to doing the action it describes
Main features of performatives Performative utterances are not true or false, that is, not truth-evaluable When something is wrong with them, they are "happy" or "unhappy" The uttering of a performative is doing a certain kind of action (an illocutionary act) and not just "saying" or "describing"
Linguistic properties Used in 1 Sg, but not only: Passengers are requested to proceed to departure gate Cannot be used in the progressive tense: *I am wishing you a merry Christmas Cannot be combined with temporal modifiers *I promise you for ten minutes to come back Cannot be combined with assessments: *I impolitely insist that you leave …
Semantic invariant? All performatives contain the semantic component ‘to say’? Some performatives do not: hire, agree, … Some verbs contain the component ‘to say’ but cannot be used as performatives: lie, shout, mutter, … Z. Vendler, Illocutionary suicide, 1976: I lie, I boast, I hint, …
Indirect speech acts The Speaker communicates to the Hearer more than he actually says by way of relying on their mutually shared background information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic, together with the general powers of rationality and inference on the part of the Hearer Could you pass me the salt? Excuse me, do you have a watch? – Would you like to go to the movies? – I have much homework.
Speaker and Hearer Place in various hierarchies: age, sex, social status, … Form of address: Sir, Professor Smith, dear students, mom, honey, pal, buddy, hey you, over there… Title + last name / first name / name + patronymic… T/V distinction: French tu/vous, Russian ty/Vy, Italian tu/Lei, German du/Sie, … Differences: German T is more applied in family than French T French T is more applied for fellow students, soldiers, … symmetrical vs. asymmetrical usage
T/V in Russian: oppositions Children aged 2-3 or younger to everyone: T Everyone to children aged 8-9 or younger: T Children aged or younger to each other: T Children to parents and parents to children, any age: T Students to teachers or professors: V Teachers to schoolchildren: mostly T Professors to students: V Not within a dialogue: T (notices, slogans, speaking with dead people, mythical beings, objects etc.)
Maxims of conversation P. Grice, Logiс and conversation, 1975 The co-operative principle The maxim of Quality The maxim of Quantity The maxim of Relevance The maxim of Manner
Co-operative principle Make your contribution such as us required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged
The maxim of Quality Try to make your contribution one that is true, specifically: Do not say what you believe to be false Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence
The maxim of Quantity Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange Do not make your contribution more informative than is required John has 3 children. Cannot be said if John has 5 children!
The maxim of Relevance Make your contribution relevant – Can you tell me the time? – Well, the milkman has come. – Our professor is an old fool, isn’t he? – What a nice weather for November!
The maxim of Manner Be perspicuous, and specifically: Avoid obscurity Avoid ambiguity Be brief Be orderly John went to the store and bought some apples.
Gricean maxims and indirect SA People mostly violate the maxims. But: They are needed to understand utterances that seem inappropriate on a deeper level – Where is our professor? – There is a traffic jam at the highway. – I don’t have a 20 Crowns coin. – There is a tobacco shop across the street. – Let’s get the kids something. – OK, but no I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M-S.
Theory of implicatures S has said that P There is no reason to think that S is not observing the maxims, or at least the co-operative principle In order for S to say that P and be indeed observing the maxims or the co-operative principle, S must think that Q S must know that it is mutual knowledge that Q must be supposed if S is to be taken to be co-operating S has done nothing to stop me, the addressee, thinking that Q Therefore S intends me to think that Q, and in saying that P has implicated Q
Next lecture Semantic annotation of text corpora. Fundamental classification of predicates. Case studies.