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Pragmatics Week 1 & 2 Introduction to Pragmatics Course

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1 Pragmatics Week 1 & 2 Introduction to Pragmatics Course
Overview of Pragmatic issues

2 What is Pragmatics all about?
‘I brought some shushi and cooked it; it wasn’t bad’ (an ad for a downtown cocktail bar ‘Sweet Alice’, published in Reader, 21 August 1992)

3 Analyse the sentence syntactically and semantically?
What is the reason or purpose of this ad? Why did “Sweet Alice” invite the customers by innuendo (indirectly) only? Why is it effective to invite people to come to the parlor bar?

4 Semantically wrong; it doesn’t make sense because the semantics of one of its parts (sushi) contradict the semantics of another part (cooking) The joke has a euphoric effect, similar to that of a disarming smile; it invokes the silly state of mind that becomes our privilege after a couple of drinks. This ad is effective to invite people to come to the parlor bar

5 Image of advertisements (Cigarette, hotel, aqua)
Analyse the sentence syntactically and semantically? What is the reason or purpose of this ad? Why is it effective to invite people to smoke?

6 Pragmatics It is alright to use language in various, unconventional ways, as long as we know what we are doing. We can semantically shocked if there is a reason for it. It is called ‘pragmatic’ when we cannot explain it using normal explanations of linguistics

7 Pragmatics The science of language seen in relation to its users, as it is used by real, live people, for their own purposes and within their limitations and affordances (Mey, 1993)

8 Syntax, Semantics & Pragmatics
Syntax: the study of the relationship between linguistic forms, how they are arranged in sequence, and which sequences are well-formed. No consideration of any world of reference or any users of the forms. Semantics: the study of the relationship between linguistic forms and entities in the world; how words literally connect to things; attempts to establish the relationships between verbal descriptions and states of affairs in the world as accurate or not, regardless of who produces that description. Pragmatics: the study of the relationship between linguistic forms and the users of those forms; humans are involved in the analysis; one can talk about people’s intended meaning, assumptions, and purposes, and kinds of actions they are performing when they speak (Yule, 2003).

9 Why do we need pragmatics?
Is there any ambiguity in language? How do we describe ‘context’?

10 Pragmatics is needed if we want a fuller, deeper, and generally more reasonable account of human language behavior. In the following, only a pragmatic account is possible ‘I just met an old Irishman and his son, coming out of the toilet.’ ‘I wouldn’t have thought there was room for the two of them’ ‘No, silly, I mean I was coming out of the toilet. They were waiting (Lodge in Mey, 1993).

11 How do we describe ‘context’?
The surroundings that enable the participants in the communication process to interact, and that make the linguistic expressions of their interaction intelligible. Refers to user-oriented point of view; how all linguistic elements are used in a concrete setting

12 Aspects of speech situations
How do we know that we deal with pragmatic, rather than semantic phenomena? addressers and addressees: include speaker-hearer, writer-reader context of an utterance: relevant aspects of the physical or social setting of an utterance; shared background knowledge goal of utterance: conscious volition or motivation, goal-oriented activities

13 Aspects of speech situations
illocutionary act: a speech act. While grammar deals with abstract static entities such as sentences (in syntax), and propositions (in semantics), pragmatics deals with verbal acts or performances taking place at particular situations (more concrete level). utterance as a product of a verbal act : use in a particular situation

14 How can we account for this utterance?
A: So can you please come over here right now B: Well, I have to go to Edinburgh today, Sir. A: Hmm. How about this Thursday? (Levinson, 1983: 48)

15 Inferences 1. It is not the end of the conversation (nor the beginning) 2. A is requesting B to come to A at (or soon after) the time of speaking; B implies he can’t (or would rather not) comply; A repeats the request for some other time. 3. In requesting, A must (a) want B to come now, (b) think it is possible that B can come, (c) think B is not alrady there, (d) think B was not about to come anyway, (e) expect that B will respond with an acceptance or rejection, and if B accepts, then A will also expect B to come, (f) think that this (A’s) asking may be possible motive for B to come, (g) not be, or be pretending not to be, in a position to order B to come.

16 4. A assumes that B knows where A is; A and B are not in the same place, neither A nor B is in Edinburgh; A thinks B has been to A’s place before. 5. The day on which the exchange is taking place is not Thursday, nor Wednesday ( or at least, so A believes) 6. A is male (or so B believes); A is aknowledged by B to have a higher social status than B (or to be playing the role of a superior).

17 John, how many times have I asked you not to keep changing the TV channels?
(spoken by Mary Smith, happily married to John) Is it a question? What is the tone of the speaker?

18 I now pronounce you husband and wife
a. uttered by a minister presiding at a ceremony in which a young couple are getting married in the presence of their assembled families; b. uttered by an actor dressed as a minister to two actors before a congregation of Hollywood extras assembled in the same church by a director giving instructions for the filming of a television soap opera. Which situation will effect the marriage between the couple? Why?

19 What use if Pragmatics? How could Pragmatics contribute to avoid language decay?

20 A waste basket Why is Pragmatics called ‘a waste basket’?

21 ‘No parking, violators will be towed away’
No shoes, No shirts, no service No checks, No Exceptions

22 What do you think of these quotes?
When a diplomat says yes, he means ‘perhaps’; When he says perhaps, he means ‘no’; When he says no, he is not a diplomat. When a lady says no, she means ‘perhaps’; When she says perhaps, she means ‘yes’; When she says yes, she is not a lady. Voltaire (Quoted, in Spanish, in Escandell 1993.)

23 Group Work (3 students) Analyse the each of the warnings syntactically and semantically? Give pragmatic account for each warning? What is the reason or purpose of this sign? Why is it effective to warn people about the warning?









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