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PRAGMATICS See also “African American English” “Ethnicity” “Indian- American Humor” “Jewish Humor” and “Spanish-America PowerPoint Presentation
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PRAGMATICS See also “African American English” “Ethnicity” “Indian- American Humor” “Jewish Humor” and “Spanish-America

PRAGMATICS See also “African American English” “Ethnicity” “Indian- American Humor” “Jewish Humor” and “Spanish-America

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PRAGMATICS See also “African American English” “Ethnicity” “Indian- American Humor” “Jewish Humor” and “Spanish-America

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  1. PRAGMATICSSee also “African American English”“Ethnicity” “Indian- American Humor”“Jewish Humor”and “Spanish-American Contrasts” by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen 51

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  3. It was on this date that Donati’s comet was visible over large parts of Southern England. • The comet is barely visible in the picture. • The people in the picture are not looking at the comet. They are gathering shells, talking to each other, or doing other unrelated things. • Mey says that the comet is like “pragmatics,” which happens mostly beneath people’s levels of awareness. • (Mey 329-330) 51

  4. Pragmatics is the study of language in its social context. It assumes that words have different meanings in different contexts. For example, what is the meaning of “club,” “spade,” “diamond,” and “heart”? Or what is the meaning of “King,” “Queen,” “Jack,” “Ace,” or “ten”? 51

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  6. You might say that all of these words have different meanings in the social context of “playing cards,” but that’s not the whole story. In Pinochle there are expressions like “100 Aces,” “80 Kings,” “60 Queens,” “40 Jacks,” and “Jack of Diamonds and Queen of Spades” that have special significance. And in Pinochle there is no “two,” “three,” “four,” “five,” “six,” “seven,” “eight,” or “nine.” 51

  7. Consider also the word “bridge.” If you’re playing cards, this word has a different meaning than if you’re a dentist or a road builder. In cards, the “bridge” is the partner of the person who wins the bid. The bid winner plays both his hand and the hand of the “bridge.” And in “Bridge,” there are special meanings of “to bid,” “to trump,” “to pass,” and “to finesse.” And “seven” means “seven”; and there is no “eleven,” but in Dice, “seven” and “eleven” are “craps,” which means you win on the first throw but lose on all subsequent throws with these numbers. 51

  8. And in Poker, things get really wild. The “Joker” is always wild; but One-Eyed Jacks might be wild or not. And there is a “raw deal,” and a “big deal,” and the “New Deal,” in politics. And there are “straights,” “flushes,” and “full houses;” and there is “Stud Poker,” “Draw Poker,” “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and “Strip Poker.” And a person can “ante up,” into the “kitty,” be “in” or “out,” and can “hold,” “fold” or “raise.” 51

  9. And in “21 Poker,” an Ace can count as either “one” or “eleven,” and all face cards count as “ten.” And in “Hearts,” the hearts count one point, and the Queen of Spades counts 27 points. And you want to get as few points as possible. Unless you think you can get all of the points. Only for Alice in Wonderland could it be more complicated. 51

  10. DIALECTS OF FORMALITY Frozen: Prissy Text Book Formal: Most Text Books Consultative: Conversations among Strangers or Large Groups Casual: Conversations among Close Friends Intimate: Conversations among Family Members or Lovers Martin Joos The Five Clocks: 51

  11. DISAMBIGUATION Explain how context could help to disambiguate the following: He waited by the bank. Is he really that kind? The proprietor of the fish store was the sole owner. The long drill was boring. When he got the clear title to the land, it was a good deed. 51

  12. It takes a good ruler to make a straight line. He saw that gasoline can explode. You should see her shop. Every man loves a woman. Bill wants to marry a Norwegian woman. 51

  13. OBSCENITIES Obscenities are based on taboos, and taboos are culturally determined and change through time. The religious right is offended by words relating to certain body parts and functions, or other vulgarities, obscenities, profanities, swearing, etc. The liberal left is offended by words degrading to particular genders, ethnicities, disabilities, etc. 51

  14. Something obscene in one culture is not obscene in a different culture. Consider the following: • derriere • fag or faggot • Grand Tetons Mountain Range • solicitor • to knock someone up • NOTE: Refined foreign students discussing American slang often don’t realize the power of American obscenities 51

  15. The name Voldemort is taboo and is not to be uttered by anyone at Hogwarts Academy. The words corset, shirt, leg, and woman used to be taboo words in English. In Shaw’s Pygmalion, Professor Higgins asked, “Are you walking across the Park, Miss Doolittle?” and Eliza Doolittle responded, “Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi.” This use of bloody startled London when the play was first produced in 1910. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 443) 51

  16. FOUR-LETTER WORDS English has many Anglo-Saxon or four letter words; however for each of these it is possible to find a Latinate paraphrase that is more polite. Think without speaking of the four-letter words associated with each of the following: 51

  17. Defecate Eliminate Expectorate Feces Fornicate Intercourse Mammary gland Penis Vagina (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 244) 51

  18. ORIENTATION Charles Fillmore says that a three-dimensional box has six sides. But if you put it on the floor, it has four sides and a top and a bottom. And if you place it against a wall, it has two sides a top a bottom and a front and a back. And if you put drawers in it, it has a right side, a left side, a top, a bottom, a front and a back. And “right” and “left” are your right and left as you face it, not the dresser’s right and left which is “facing” you. 51

  19. PIDGINS AND CREOLES Pidgins and creoles tend to be quite metaphorical and poetic. Here are some examples: Fella belong Mrs. Queen = Prince Philip, Husband of Queen Elizabeth II muckamuck = to eat, drink, or pucker the mouth him brother belong me = friend lamp belong Jesus = sun gubmint catchum-fella = policeman grass belong face = whiskers him belly allatime burn = thirsty man him cow pig have kittens = Has the Master’s sow given birth to a litter yet? (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 434-436) 51

  20. Haitian Creole is a creole based on French. Jamaican Creole is a creole based on English. Gullah is an English-based creole spoken by descendants of African slaves off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. Louisiana Creole is spoken in Louisiana. Tok Pisin as a Melanesian Pidgin English spoken in Papua, New Guinea. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 437) 51

  21. PRECONDITIONS FOR SPEECH ACTS Explain how linguistic and social context help in understanding the following sentences: You make a better door than a window. It’s getting late. The restaurants are open until midnight. If you’d diet, this wouldn’t hurt so badly. I thought I saw a fan in the closet. 51

  22. Mr. Smith dresses neatly, is well-groomed, and is always on time to class. Most of the food is gone. John or Mary made a mistake. Did you make a doctor’s appointment? Do you have the play tickets? Does your grandmother have a live-in boyfriend? How did you like the string quartet? What are Boston’s chances of winning the World Series? 51

  23. Do you own a cat? LAURA: Did you mow the grass and wash the car like I told you to? JACK: I mowed the grass. LAURA: Do you want dessert? JACK: Is the Pope Catholic? When did you stop paying alimony to your ex-wife? (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 219) 51

  24. SLANG, JARGON AND ARGOT Slang, Jargon and Argot are all gate-keeping languages used as much to identify members of a particular group as to communicate. Slang is age related—mainly high school and college students. Jargon is profession related—every profession has its own jargon. Argot is underworld related—it’s designed to communicate to the group and not to the authorities. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 439-442) 51

  25. Carl Sandburg said, “Slang is language which takes off its coat, spits on its hands—and goes to work. SLANG EXAMPLES: spaced out, right on, to barf, to dis someone, rave (wild party), ecstasy (drug), crib (home), posse (friends) JARGON EXAMPLES: phoneme, morpheme, case, lexicojn, phrase structure rule ARGOT EXAMPLES: “He was hoopty around dimday when some mud duck with a tray-eight tried to take him out of the box.” TRANSLATION: “He was in his car about dusk when a woman armed with a .38 caliber gun tried to kill him. (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 439-441) 51

  26. THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF MEANING Penelope Eckert said, “the use of variation does not simply reflect, but constructs, social categories and social meaning.” (Eckert 4) 51

  27. SOCIAL-VARIABILITYIN LINGUISTIC RULES Minimal Pairs Word Lists Reading Style Careful Speech Casual Speech (William Labov’s Categories) 51

  28. WEBSTER’S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY This dictionary, published in 1961, was the first major dictionary that obliterated the “older distinction between standard, substandard, colloquial, vulgar, and slang.” (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 418) Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Explain. 51


  30. PHONOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES greasy [grizi] with [wIð] spoon (noon) [spjun] creek [krIk] roof [rUf] However, wash with an intrusive [r] is not so much regional as rural. 51

  31. PHONOLOGICAL DISTINCTIONS THAT ARE BECOMING LOST cot-caught witch-which mourning – morning However, pin-pen is remaining stable. 51

  32. BRITISH-AMERICAN PRONUNCIATION DIFFERENCES calf, bath, pass, aunt learn, fork, core, brother carry, very either, neither, potato, tomato clerk, schedule captain, bottle (glottals [in Cockney]) (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 454) 51

  33. BRITISH-AMERICANSTRESS DIFFERENCES aluminum applicable cigarette dictionary formidable kilometer laboratory necessary missionary secretary stationery territory (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 413) 51

  34. CALIFORNIA VALLEY-GIRLAND SURFER-DUDE SPEECH Rising Inflections (like Australian English) Animated Body Language (like sticking a finger down the throat) Specialized Vocabulary (like “dude”, esp. relating to shopping malls, the beach, and personality types) 51

  35. CANADIAN PHONOLOGY out and about the house schedule Canadian -eh 51

  36. NEW ENGLAND PHONOLOGY lot (New England) park the car; Cuba-r-is merry – marry – Mary calf (pass, path, dance) Brooklyn: dis, dat, dese, dose, dem 51

  37. SOUTHERN PHONOLOGY Mrs. [mIz] hog (frog, dog, Deputy Dog) south => souf during => doin’, and going => gon, help => hep test => tes ring => rang, boy => boah, car => cah POlice nasal twang (Texas and Oklahoma) southern drawl (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 423) 51

  38. GRAMMAR DIFFERENCES Double Modals: might could Negative Modals: hadn’t ought Strange Past Participles: larnt Strange Possessive Pronouns: yourn, hisn, hern, ourn, theirn Strange Prepositions: a quarter before eight Strange Conjunctions: unless => without, lessen, thouten Strange Adverbs: anywheres, nowheres (Fromkin Rodman Hyams 416-417) 51

  39. VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES What do you fry your eggs in? creeper, fryer, frying pan, fry pan, skillet, or spider What do you call a soft drink? pop, soda, soda pop, or tonic? What do you call a long sandwich containing salami etc.? hero, submarine, hoagy, grinder or poorboy 51

  40. What do you drink water out of? drinking fountain, cooler, bubbler or geyser How do you get something from one place to another? take, carry, or tote What do you carry things in? a bag, a sack, or a poke How do you speculate? reckon, guess, figgure, figger, suspect, imagine (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 414) 51

  41. BRITISH-AMERICAN VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES bird, bobby, bonnet, boot, braces, clothes peg, first floor, flat, lift, lorry, nickers, peruque, petrol, pram, pub, public school, queue, spanner, tele, torch, trousers, tube, westcoat girl, cop, hood (of a car), trunk (of a car), suspenders, clothes pin, second floor, apartment, elevator, truck, underwear, wig, gasoline, baby buggy, bar, private school, line, monkey wrench, television, flashlight, pants, subway, vest (Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 414, 456) 51

  42. SOUTHERN VOCABULARY chitlins and grits to buy a pig in a poke “Carry me Back to Old Virginie” 51

  43. BRITISH-AMERICANSPELLING DIFFERENCES Cheque centre, theatre colour, honour defence, offence labelled, travelled Pyjamas tyre 51

  44. BRITISH EXPRESSIONS TO WATCH OUT FOR fag or faggot (wood for the fireplace, or cigarette) soliciter (lawyer) to knock someone up (wake them up in the morning) 51

  45. COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG apples and pears (stairs) Aristotle (bottle) pig’s ear (beer) Mother Hubbard (cupboard) plates and dishes (Mrs.) 51


  47. HEAVEN AND HELL In Heaven, all the cooks are French; all the mechanics are German; all the musicians are Italian. In Hell, all the cooks are English; all the mechanics are French; all the soldiers are Italian. 51

  48. BRITISH DIALECT ETHNICITY A guy wakes up, finds himself in a British hospital, and says, “Did I come here to die?” The Cokney nurse responds, “No, I think it was yesterdie.” 51

  49. BRONX DIALECT ETHNICITY In a New York City Park one guy turns to another guy and says, “Look at de boids.” The other guy says, “Those aren’t ‘boids.’ They’re ‘birds.’” The first guy says, “Cheez, dat’s funny, dey choip like boids.” 51

  50. LIGHTBULB JOKESTO INVESTIGATE STEREOTYPES How many New Yorkers? Three: One to do it and two to criticize. How many grad students? Three: Two, plus a professor to take the credit How many Jewish mothers? None: I’ll just sit in the dark. (Nilsen & Nilsen 176) 51