PRAGMATICS – George Yule. 1. DEFINITIONS AND BACKGROUND. “ The study of contextual meaning communicated by a speaker or writer , and interpreted by a listener or reader .” ( G.Yule ) “ The study of the relation of signs to their interpreters .” (Charles Morris)
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1- THE STUDY OF SPEAKER MEANING
WHAT PEOPLE MEAN bytheirutterancesratherthanwhatthewordsorphrasesmight mean bythemselves.
A: there is a store over there (Let‘s go inside)
B: no (I don‘t want to go inside)
A: why not? (why do you not want to go inside?)
B: I‘m tired. (I don‘t want to because I‘m tired.)
PRAGMATICS studies HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF EACH OTHER LINGUISTICALLY.
A: So_ didyou?
B: Hey_ whowouldn’t?
Twofriends in a conversationmayimplysomethings and infersomeotherswithoutprovidinganyclearlinguisticevidence. So, pragmaticsrequiresustomakesense of whatpeoplehave in mind.
Forexample: “I foundanoldbike. Thechainwasrusted and thetyres flat”.
“I foundanoldbike. A bike has a chain. Thechainwasrusted. A bikeaslo has tyres. Thetyreswere flat.”
2.Nothing in the use of the language forms is inaccurate, but getting the pragmatics wrong might be offensive.
Toaccomplishthispointingwe use deicticexpressionsorindexicals.
i.e: “What’sthat?” (usedtoindicatesth. in theimmediatecontext.)
Deicticexpressionsdependonthe speaker and hearersharingthesamespatialcontext, in face-tofacespokeninteraction.
Each of the utterances above consists of two sentences. Think about the first utterance for a moment and ask yourself who the subject of both sentences is. You'll probably come to the conclusion that it is the same person ('I') in both sentences, but it is not possible to determine who exactly I refers to outside of an actual speech situation. When someone uses I in a real-life chat, you can see and hear that person, and therefore you are able to resolve who the word refers to. But outside of a real discourse situation, this is no longer possible. Words like I, which carry a meaning that can only be retrieved with access to the situation they are used in, are called deictic expressions and the phenomenon of expressions pointing to things in the context is known as deixis.
i.e: “I’llputthishere, ok?”
There are 3 categories:
SOCIAL DEIXIS: formsusedtoindicaterelative social status. In manylanguagesdeicticcategoriesbecomemarkers of relative social status.
HONORIFICS: expressionsthatmarkthattheaddresseeis of higher status.
In Spanishthe“Tú”- “Usted” distinction.
“Somebodydidn’tclean up afterhimself” (lessdirectthan “Youdidn’tclean”
i.e: “Here” and “There” “Come” and “Go”
i.e: “Thatmanoverthere” impliespsychologicaldistance.
DEICTIC PROJECTION: whenspeakersact as ifthey are somewhereelse.
i.e: “I´mnotherenow.” (telephoneanswering machine)
Recordingis a performance for a futureaudience in which I project my presencetobe in therequiredlocation.
i.e: “now” - “then”
In contrasttonow, the distal expressionthenappliestobothpast and future time relativetothespeaker’spresent time.
i.e: “I was in Scotlandthen”
Thedistinctionsforperson, spatial, and temporal deixis can beseen at work in Englishgrammarstructuressuch as DIRECT and INDIRECT (reported)SPEECH.
i.e: Are youplanningtobeherethisevening? –
There’ s a shiftfromthe “near speaker” meaning of directspeechtothe “awayfrom speaker” meaning of reportedspeech, withthe use of DISTAL DEICTIC forms.
REFERENCE: anact in which a speaker orwriter, uses linguisticformstoenable a listenerorreader, toidentifysomething.
Words in themselves do notreferanything. Peoplerefer.
REFERRING EXPRESSIONS: linguisticformslikepropernouns, definiteorindefinitenounphrases, and pronouns.
Thechoice of onetype of theseexpressionsratherthananotherisbasedonwhatthe speaker assumesthelisteneralreadyknows.
“Look at him” (use of pronoun)
“Thewoman in red” (definitearticle)
“A womanwaslooking at you” (indefinitearticle and pronoun)
Sometimeswe use vague expressionsrelyingonthelistener’sabilitytoinferwhatreferentwehave in mind:
i.e: “Thebluething”, “Thatstuff”
A conventionalassociationbetween a person’sname and a kind of objectwithin a socio-culturallydefinedcommunity.
i.e: “Can I borrowyour Shakespeare?”
Giventhecontext, theintended and inferredreferentisnot a personbutprobably a book.
Co- text: thelinguisticenvironment in which a wordisused.
Theco-textclearlylimitsourrange of possibleinterpretationswemighthavefor a word.
i.e: “BrazilwinsWorld Cup”
Brazilwouldbethereferringexpression, and therest of thesentencetheco-text.
Thephysicalenvironment in which a wordisused.
i.e: “A manwaslooking at us. Hethendisappeared.”
Theinitialreferenceisoftenindefinite (A man…) and iscalledtheANTECEDENT.
Thesubsequentreferenceisdefiniteor a prononun (He…) and iscalledANAPHORA.
Makeyourcontribution as INFORMATIVE as required. Do NOT makeit more informativethanrequired.
Makeyourcontribution TRUE. Do NOT saywhatyoubelieveis false. Do NOT saythatforwhichyoulackadequateevidence.
4- MANNER: Be perspicuous:
However, there are certainexpressionsspeakers use tomarkthattheymaybe in danger of NOTfullyadheringtotheprinciples.
HEDGES: cautious notes abouthowanutteranceshouldbetakenwhengivinginformation.
“ As far as I know, they’remarried.”
“I maybemistaken, but I thought I saw a wedding ring onherfinger.”
“I’mnotsureifthisisright, but I hearditwas a secretceremony.”
“He couldn’tlivewithouther, I guess”
“ As youprobablyknow,I’mterrified of bugs”
“ So, tocut a longstory short, wegrabbedourstaff and run”
“I won’t bore youwithallthedetails, butitwasanexcitingtrip”
“Thismaybe a bit confused, but…”
“I don’tknowifthisisclear at all, but…”
b: “Ah, I broughtthe bread.”
a: “Do youlike ice-cream?”
b: “Isthe Pope catholic?”
Theinterpretation of anyutterancewiththewordBUTwillimplyanimplicature of CONTRAST and withAND an ADDITION.
“Mary suggestedblack, but I chosewhite”.
In Englishthey are commonlyknown as: apology, compliment, complaint, invitation, promise, orrequestandapplytothespeaker’scommunicativeintention.
“This tea isreallycold!”
Thisutterance can beinterpreted as a complaintor as a praise, dependingonthecircumstances. (Ifitiswinterorsummer, a coldor a hotday, etc.)
1- Thelocutionaryact: thebasicact of utterancewhich produces a meaningfullinguisticexpression.
Ifyouhavedifficulty in producing a meaningfulutterance (becauseit’s a foreignlanguageoryou’retongue-tied), thenyoumightfailto produce a locutionaryact.
3. THE PERLOCUTIONARY ACT:
Theeffect of anutterance
ThemostcommonIFIDs are performativeverbs: verbsthatexplicitlynametheillocutionaryactbeingperformed.
i.e: “I promiseyouthat…”
Certainexpectedorappropiatecircumstancesfor a speechacttoberecognized as intended.
i.e: “ I sentenceyoutosixmonths of prison”
Ifthe speaker wasn’t a judge in a court, this performance wouldbeinfelicitousorinappropiate.
i.e: “You’regoing!” (I tellyou)
“You’regoing?”( I requestconfirmation)
“Are yougoing?”( I askyouif)
Sincerityconditions: requirementsonthegenuineintentions of a speaker.
Forexample: for a promise, the speaker genuinelyintendstocarryoutthefutureaction.
A requirementthattheutterancecommitsthe speaker totheactperformed.
Theutterancechanges my statefrom non-obligationtoobligation.
1- DECLARATIONS: speechactsthatchangetheworldviaanutterance. The speaker has tohave a specific role, in a specificcontext, in ordertoperform a declarationappropiately.
Statements of fact, assertions, conclusions, descriptions, etc.
Theyexpresspsychologicalstates and can bestatements of pleasure, pain, likes, dislikes, joy, orsorrow.
Theyexpresswhatthe speaker wants. They are: commands, orders, requests, suggestions. They can be positive ornegative.
They are: promises, threats, refusals, pledges, etc.
Face: thepublicself-image of a person. Itreferstothatemotional and social sense of selfthateveryone has and expectstheotherstorecognize.
Politeness in aninteraction can bedefined as themeansemployedto show awareness of anotherperson’sface.
“Excuse, Mr. Buckingham, can I talktoyoufor a second?”
Social closeness: friendliness,camaraderie, orsolidarity.
“Hey, Bucky, got a minute?”
A: “I’mgoingtotellhimto stop thatawfulnoiserightnow!!” (Face-threateningact)
B: “Perhapsyoucouldjustaskhimifhe’sgoingto stop becauseit’sgetting late and weneedtosleep…” (Face- savingact)
Imagine youarrive at a lecturebutyou’veforgotten a pentotakeyour notes. Youthinkthattehpersonnexttoyoumayprovidethesolution.
In thisscenario, you’regoingtobeSELF, and thepersonnexttoyouOTHER.
You: (look in bag, rummage in, search in pockets)
TheOther: “Here, use this.”
“Uh, I forgot my pen”
“Hmm, I wonderwhere I put my pen”
Thesestatements are notdirectlyaddressed t theother. Theother can act as iftheyhavenotevenbeenheard.
Off record expressions: utterancesnot
directlyaddressed t anotherone.
“Give me a pen”
“Lend me yourpen”
These are known as baldon record- they’rethemostdirectapproach, likethe use of imperatives.
Wouldyoulend me a pen, please?” Herewe use mitigatingdevices, likewould and please, thatsoftenthedemand.