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Presentation on theme: "Pragmatics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pragmatics

2 Pragmatics can be defined as the study of how speakers use the sentences of a language to effect successful communication.

3 Pragmatics is different from traditional semantics in that it studies meaning not in isolation but in context.

4 Semanticists take meaning to be an inherent property of language, pragmaticists regard meaning as something that is realized in the course of communication.

5 Sentence Meaning Utterance Meaning
It is context-dependent. It is the product of sentence meaning and context. Therefore, it is richer than the meaning of the sentence. It is the abstract context-independent entity called semantic proposition.

6 2. Speech Act Theory

7 Speech act theory originated with the British philosopher John Austin in the late 50’s. According to this theory, we are performing various kinds of acts when we are speaking.

8 Before the speech act theory was advanced, it was believed that the business of a statement is either to describe or to state. It must be either true or false.

9 Austin made the pimary distinction between two types of utterances: constative and performative.

10 Constative vs. Performative
The performative utterance is used to perform an action, so it has no truth value. The constative utterance is verifiable and it is either true or false.

11 (1) “I do.” as uttered in the course of a marriage ceremony.

12 (2)“ I name this ship Elizabeth.”
---as uttered when smashing the bottle against the stern.

13 (3)“ I give and bequeath my
watch to my brother.” --- as occurring in a will.

14 (4) “ I bet you sixpence it will
rain tomorrow.” --- as uttered when making a bet.

15 According to Austin, while making an utterance, a speaker is performing three acts simultaneously: a locutionary act, an illocutionary act, and a perlocutionary act.

16 A locutionary act is the act of saying something; it is an act of conveying literal meaning by means of syntax, lexicon and phonology.

17 An illocutionary act is the act performed in saying something; its force is identical with the speaker’s intention.

18 A perlocutionary act is the act performed by or resulting from saying something; it is the consequence of, or the change brought about by the utterance.

19 Searle also made his contribution to the study of illocutionary speech acts. He specified five types of illocutionary speech acts: 1)representative 2)directive 3)commissive 4)expressive 5)declaration

20 The illocutionary point of the representatives is to commit the speaker to something’s being the case, to the truth of the expressed proposition.

21 I guess that he has come. I think that the film is moving. I am certain that he has come.

22 Directives are attempts by the speaker to get the hearer to do something.
Open the door! Don’t you think it’s a bit stuffy here?

23 Commissives are those illocutionary acts whose point is to commit the speaker to some future course of action. When speaking, the speaker puts himself under obligation.

24 I promise to love you!

25 The illocutionary point of expressives is to express the psychological state specified in the propositional content such as apologizing, thanking, congratulating,welcoming etc.

26 I’m sorry for the mess I have made.
It’s very kind of you to have thought of me.

27 The point of this declaration is to bring about the correspondence between the propositional content and reality. I declare the meeting open. I appoint you chairman of the committee.

28 I fire you!

29 Principles of Conversation
The co-operative principle

30 In making conversation, Grice holds that thee is a general principle which all participants are expected to observe. Make your conversational 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.

31 The maxim of quantity 1. Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange). 2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

32 The maxim of quality 1. Do not say what you believe to be false. 2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

33 The maxim of relation Be relevant.

34 The maxim of manner 1. Avoid obscurity of expression. 2. Avoid ambiguity. 3. Be brief. 4. Be orderly.

35 When we violate these maxims, in some situations, conversational implicature will arise.

36 A: Do you know where Mr. X lives?
B: Somewhere in the southern suburbs of the city. (said when it is known to both A and B that B has Mr. X’s address.)

37 A: Would you like to come to
our party tonight? B: I’m afraid I’m not feeling so well today.

38 A: The hostess is an awful bore. Don’t
you think? B: The roses in the garden are beautiful, aren’t they? (said when it is known to both A and B that it is entirely possible for B to make a comment on the hostess)

39 A: Shall we get something for the
kids? B: yes. But I veto I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M. (said when it is known to both A and B that B has no difficulty in pronouncing the word “ice-cream”).

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