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PRAGMATICS: Facing the complexities of language use. Maria Glass, Ph.D. & Andrea Strachan TESL Ontario 2008 – Toronto, ON.
Maria Glass, Ph.D. & Andrea Strachan
TESL Ontario 2008 – Toronto, ON
Successful language use is a complex endeavor; it depends on understanding of different contexts settings, social relationships, cultural constraints, etc. Pragmatics is the area of language studies that deals with this complexity.Summary
In this workshop we will discuss the necessity of including pragmatics in training for TESL and provide participants with practical activities to demonstrate how pragmatics can be taught.Agenda
The study of language from the point of view of the users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication.
(Crystal, 1997 Apud Kasper & Rose, 2002)Defining pragmatics
Two people enter an art gallery. One of them goes to buy the admission tickets, while the other one who is carrying a plastic bag goes ahead into the gallery. A docent approaches:
Docent: Would you like to leave your bag here?
Person: Oh no, thank you. It’s not heavy.
Docent : Only…. We have had…. We had a theft here yesterday, you see.
(Adapted from Thomas, 1005)When the clues are not so obvious…
You are applying for a new job in a big company and want to make an appointment for an interview. You know the manager is very busy and only schedules interviews in the afternoon, from one to four o’clock. However, you currently work in the afternoon.
(Adapted from McLean,2004)Not always so obvious
You are in the office this morning handing in your application form…
Husband: (Doesn’t want to leave)
What might the husband say if….
1. … they were at a dinner party hosted by the
2. … they were at a close friend’s birthday party?
3. … they were at the wife’s mother’s house?
4. … they were at their daughter’s house?
5. … they were at the husband’s mother’s house?
(Adapted from Mey, 2001:162)Not always so obvious
Boyfriend turns to his girlfriend and says:
It’s so hot in here.
The host overhears and ...
1. ...thinking that his guest needs some fresh air, says…
2. ...thinking that his guest wants to go home, says…
3. ...thinking that his guest wants to have a cold beer,
4. ...thinking that his guest wants the AC on, says…
5. ...thinking that his guest wants to go outside and
make out with his girlfriend, says…Not always so obvious
The speaker was my mother. She made the two following requests to me within the space of a few minutes:
Shut the window, Jen.
Do you think you could find the time to take those invitations to the printer?
(Thomas, J., 1995:130)Not always so obvious
A medical laboratory technologist working in a busy hospital lab looks at her watch. The time is 12:00. She looks briefly at the equipment that she is responsible for, then at her colleague, and says: "It‘s lunch time.”
What does she mean?
a) It's lunch time.
b) I’m hungry.
c) I’m leaving. Now you are in charge.
d) I didn’t have breakfast today.
e) Watch out!Not always so obvious
Boyfriend and girlfriend are walking down a downtown street. The young man stops to tie his shoelace. While on his knee, he looks up and sees that he is in front of a jewellery store, and sees a nice diamond ring in the window.
Boyfriend: Do you like this one?
Girlfriend: Yes, I mean, Yes, I do!!!
The boyfriend turns pale….
(Insurance company TV ad)Wrong place, wrong pose
A needs to leave the workshop room to make a phone call. As it is almost the start time for the workshop, A asks B to let him know when the presenters come in. When the presenters arrive, B calls out to A and says:
they’re hereNot always so obvious
Maria Glass and Andrea Strachan, the presenters of session FAJ entitled Pragmatics: Facing the complexities of Language, being presented today, November 14, at the TESL Ontario Conference 2008 at the Sheraton Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, just entered workshop Carleton room, and as requested I am letting you know that they have arrived and the workshop is about to begin…Thank Goodness for Reference & Presupposition!
A: Is he nice?
B: She seems to like him.
(Thomas, 1995: 66)Things we say by not saying….
Involves awareness of how our linguistic choices are made based on constraints imposed
by interrelated factors.Pragmatics
Kasper, G. & Rose, K. (2002). Pragmatic Development in a Second Language. Oxford: Blackwell.
Mclean, T. (2004). Giving Students a fighting chance: Pragmatics in the language classroom. TESL Canada Journal (21), 2, 72-92
Mey, J. (2001). Pragmatics: An Introduction (Second edition). Oxford: Blackwell.
Thomas, J. (1995). Meaning in Interaction: an introduction to pragmatics. London: LongmanWorks cited