Pragmatics: Definitions and Background

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Pragmatics: Definitions and Background DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 1 By: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 2 Textbook

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 3 References

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 4 The Levels of Language and Linguistics

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 5 Background of “Pragmatics” Charles Morris (1903 – 1979) Was concerned with the study of the science of signs, which he called semiotic; Distinguished 3 branches of semiotics: syntactics (or syntax), which studies the formal relation among different signs; semantics, the study of the relation between the signs and the objects they denote; and pragmatics, the study of the relation of signs to their interpreters, i.e. people.

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 6 The word pragmatics derives from the Greek word ‘pragma’, which means 'matter', 'thing', but also 'action' (cf. Linke, Nussbaumer & Portmann (1996)). Pragmatics

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 7 1: “Pragmatics is the study of speaker meaning.” 2: “ Pragmatics is the study of contextual meaning” 3:“ Pragmatics is the study of how more gets communicated than is said” 4:“ Pragmatics is the study of the expression of relative distance.” ( Yule:2008). Definitions

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 8 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.) Pragmatics

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 9 The essence of pragmatics syntax addresses the formal relations of signs to one another, semantics the relation of signs to what they denote, and pragmatics the relation of signs to their users and interpreters

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 10 The central rationale for pragmatics: sentence meaning (semantics) in natural languages vastly underdetermines speaker’s meaning (intentions). The goal of pragmatics is to explain how the gap between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning is bridged

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 11 Semiotics tries to separate “objective” definitions of the structure and meaning of words and sentences in syntax and semantics from subjective and context-dependent senses (often: requests or demands of actions) in pragmatics.

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 12 Pragmatics - the study of meaning as it relates to speaker’s and addressee’s background attitudes and beliefs, their understanding of the context in which a sentence is uttered, and their knowledge of how language can be used to inform, persuade, mislead, etc. Focuses on utterances - sentences that are spoken within a given context (the same sentence spoken 2 different times is 2 different utterances - why?)

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 13 Pragmatics is the study of the relationships between linguistic forms and the users of those forms. In this three-part distinction, only pragmatics allows humans into the analysis. The natural realization is that grammatical analysis alone is not enough.

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 14 The difference between grammatical analysis and pragmatic analysis First, grammatical studies look for rules while pragmatic studies look for principles. Rules are black and white, i.e. you are either right or wrong. For instance, you have to say “He studies linguistics”; the –s is required by a rule. Principles are not black and white; you can obey them to some extent and violate them to some extent. For example, one principle says we should tell the truth and another says we should be polite in our speech. Secondly, in grammar studies, we end up with products while in pragmatics we always deal with processes. In other words, after we have analyzed a sentence grammatically, our job is done; in a pragmatic inquiry, we deal with an ever-unfolding process-as the discourse goes on and on, the extra meaning of some words become clearer and clearer.

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DR. Shadia Y. Banjar 15