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  1. Announcements • Next week: Seminar • Read all 4 papers, but you are responsible for presenting certain ones. • Paper 1 - Hauser, Fitch, & Chomsky (2002) • Paper 2 - Pinker & Jackendoff (2005) Yaling & Liz • Paper 3 - Fitch, Hauser, & Chomsky (2005) Courtney & Richie • Paper 4 - Jackendoff & Pinker (2005) David & Karol • You and your randomly assigned partner: • Summarize main arguments of the paper • Come up with 5 discussion Qs per paper

  2. Psy1302 Psychology of Language Pragmatics and Language Use

  3. There are meanings and there are meanings. • Semantics  Pragmatics • In our initial discussion of meaning we concentrated on two types of semantics: • Lexical semantics: what individual words mean • Compositional semantics: how the meanings of larger objects are constructed out of the meaning of the parts

  4. Pragmatics • Pragmatics is the study of the aspects of meaning and language use that are dependent on the speaker, the addressee and other features of the context of utterance.

  5. Semantics • LOVELY • (ADJECTIVE): [love-li-er, love-li-est]. • Full of love; loving. • Inspiring love or affection. • Having pleasing or attractive qualities. • Enjoyable; delightful.

  6. Lovely!

  7. Lovely!

  8. Semantics • LOVELY • (ADJECTIVE): [love-li-er, love-li-est]. • Full of love; loving. • Inspiring love or affection. • Having pleasing or attractive qualities. • Enjoyable; delightful. Lovely! Literal meaning of “lovely” is not equivalent to actual meaning conveyed.

  9. Another Example • Waitress: “The ham sandwich wants his check.” Where is my check?

  10. Further Considerations • Consider: I gave the book to John. • This sentence is true in situations that involve a transfer of possession of a book from the speaker to John.

  11. Variants with same truth conditions • I gave the book to John. • Same truth condition as above, but differ syntactically: • It was John I gave the book to. • The book is what I gave to John. • John was given the book by me. • Why would you choose one structure over the other?

  12. Variants with same truth conditions • Importantly, the sentences also differ in appropriateness of use: • These sentences are appropriate in different circumstances • Part of this appropriateness or felicity involves which aspect of the situation the speaker chooses to focus upon • Pragmatics & Syntactic Structure: The study of pragmatics specifies the conditions under which these variants can be used felicitously.

  13. How to do things with words • Language is not always about statements of fact that could be true or false. • Language is a form of action. • We perform acts with words.

  14. How to do things with words • We use language to accomplish acts (i.e. speech acts) • Physical Act: e.g. Getting a glass of water • Mental Act: e.g. Thinking about getting a glass of water • Speech Act: e.g. “Get a glass of water.”

  15. Speech Act How to do things with words Terminologies • Locutionary acts • Illocutionary acts • Perlocutionary acts

  16. Locutionary act: saying something (the locution) with a certain meaning in traditional sense. Illocutionary act:the performance of an act in saying something The illocutionary force is the speaker's intent. A true “speech act”. e.g. informing, ordering, warning, etc… Perlocutionary acts:Speech acts that have an effect on the feelings, thoughts or actions of either the speaker or the listener. In other words, they seek to change minds! Unlike locutionary acts, perlocutionary acts are external to the performance. e.g., inspiring, persuading or deterring. Special kind: performatives – Illocutionary = Perlocutionary act. I (hereby) pronounce you husband and wife. You are (hereby) under arrest. Terminologies

  17. Speech Acts • Examples of different (social) things speech acts can do: • Order someone to do something • Ask for something • Offering something • Promise something • Threaten someone into doing something • Greeting someone • Congratulating someone

  18. Types of Speech Acts in More Technical Terms(Searle) • Assertives: act of expressing a belief • “My father was born in Japan.” • Directives: act of trying to get the addressee to do something • “Go home.” • Commissives: act of committing oneself to something • “I promise to be on time.” • Expressives: act of expressing certain psychological feelings • “Congratulations.” • Effectives: act that changes institutional state of affairs • “You are fired. • Verdictives: act determines institutionally what is to be the case • “Strike three!”

  19. Direct vs. Indirect(more terminologies!) • A basic distinction: • Direct Speech Acts: The meaning is more or less encoded in the literal meaning of the utterance • Indirect Speech Acts: The meaning that is relevant is the speech act meaning, not simply the literal meaning

  20. Direct Speech Acts • Examples Type Function Sentence Assertionconvey meaning declarative John got an A on the test. Directive elicit information interrogative Did John get an A on the test? Directive affect others’ actions imperative Get an A on the test! (inform) (question) (order)

  21. Indirect Speech Acts • Direct Speech Act: Did John get an A on the midterm? • Addressee can respond “Yes” • But consider Indirect Speech Act: Do you know if John got an A on the midterm? • Addressee can respond “Yes” w/o supplying more information. But this might annoy the speaker if the intent of the speaker (illocutionary force) was to elicit whether John got an A.

  22. Indirect Speech Acts Example 2 • Courtney: Can you tell me the time? • Yaling: Yes. (Yaling does nothing more.) Example 3 • Liz: Would you mind posting your question on the class discussion forum? • David: No. (David does nothing more.)

  23. Indirect Speech Acts Example 2 • Courtney: Can you tell me the time? • Yaling: Four-thirty. Example 3 • Liz: Would you mind posting your question on the class discussion forum? • David pulls out his laptop and goes to the class website and posts the question.

  24. Indirect Speech Acts(speaker & addressee) • There are many ways of asking an indirect question • “Do you know…” is often an indirect question • The felicitous answer is not an answer to the literal meaning, but to answer the speech act meaning

  25. Indirect Speech Acts(speaker & addressee) • Part of what we compute as the addressee is the likely intentions of the speaker in situational contexts • These are inferences that we addressees (typically) compute without explicit awareness

  26. Indirect Speech Acts(speaker & addressee) • Speakers can vary the degree of obviousness of indirect speech acts involving commands (or requests): • Close the window • I would like you to close the window. • It would be nice if someone would close the window. • Brrrrr. • Addressees also vary in their abilities to infer the intentions behind an indirect speech act Close the window! direct EXTREMELY indirect

  27. Experiment(Treat Qs as Y/N or Requests) Do you take credit cards? Participant Experimenter

  28. Experiment(Treat Qs as Y/N or Requests) Response Type 1 • Experimenter: Do you take credit cards? • Store: Yes. • Experimenter: Which ones? • Store: Visa and MasterCard. Response Type 2 • Experimenter: Do you take credit cards? • Store: Visa and MasterCard. Response Type 3 • Experimenter: Do you take credit cards? • Store: Yes. Visa and MasterCard. (44% of the time) (16% of the time) (38% of the time)

  29. The Important Point • Communication is a cooperativeprocess, a joint activity that requires coordination.

  30. Grice & His Cooperative Principle • Grice was a philosopher whose research program involves understanding basic principles that get conversations going • Cooperative principle: Make your contribution to the conversation such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the exchange in which you are engaged. Herbert Paul Grice

  31. Grice & His Cooperative Principle • Explain Implicatures: how speaker’s meaning (what someone uses an utterance to mean) arises from sentence meaning (the literal form and meaning of an utterance).

  32. Grice’s 4 Maxims • Grice proposed 4 maxims that speakers follow in respecting the Cooperative Principle • Idea: If the addressee assume the maxims to be operative, then s/he can: from what was literally said infer the speaker’s intended meaning

  33. Grice’s 4 Maxims • Maxim of quality: • Try to make your contribution one that is true. • Do not say what you believe to be false. • Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. • Maxim of quantity: • Make your contribution as informative as is required, for the current purposes of the exchange. • Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. • Maxim of relevance: • Be relevant. • Maxim of manner: • Be perspicuous (clearly expressed; easy to understand). • Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. • Be brief. Be orderly.

  34. Grice’s 4 Maxims No different than the joint act of Fixing/Building a House – If you are a helpful partner… • Maxim of quality: Try to make your contribution one that is true. • Maxim of quantity: Make your contribution as informative as is required. • Maxim of relevance: Be relevant. • Maxim of manner: Be clear and orderly. Hand the right tools to your partner and not intentionally the wrong ones. If partner needs 3 nails, hand the right number – 3 (i.e., not 1 or 300). Hand the appropriate tools (i.e., not tennis racket) Help quickly and efficiently.

  35. Implicatures where no maxim is violated: A: I am out of petrol. B: There is a garage around the corner. A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He has been paying a lot of visits to New York lately.

  36. Implicatures due to violating one maxim to preserve another. A: I'd like to visit Vincent when I go to Paris. Where does he live? B: Somewhere in France. • Implicature: B doesn’t know any more than this. • Which maxim is violated? And in order to preserve which maxim?

  37. Implicatures due to flouting The applicant has beautiful handwriting, and demonstrates excellent taste in shoes .. • What is being flouted here? • What is being implicated?

  38. Implicatures due to flouting A: Did Anne cook dinner last night? B: Well, she placed a number of edible substances into a pot and then heated them until various chemical reactions took place. • What is being flouted here? • What is being implicated?

  39. Implicatures due to flouting A: Who was that man I saw you at dinner with? B: I really love your new scarf! • What is being flouted here? • What is being implicated?

  40. Implicature Calculability Theoretical Definition: • Speaker (S) conversationally implicates p iff S implicates p when: (i)Sis presumed to be observing the Cooperative Principle (cooperative presumption); (ii) The supposition that S believes p is required to make S 's utterance consistent with the Cooperative Principle (determinacy); and (iii) S believes (or knows), and expects Hearer (H) to believe that Sbelieves, that His able to determine that (ii) is true (mutual knowledge). From

  41. Two Traditions of Psycholinguistics(Herbert Clark) • Language as “product” tradition • How do people produce and understand the sentences of their language? • What is the link between language use and the grammar of the language? • Language as “action” tradition • What do people do with language? • What are their goals and intentions and how do they achieve the goals?

  42. Language as Action Tradition(sample syllabus) • Intro to Language Use Arenas of language use • Discourse as a Joint Activity Minimal/Extended Joint Projects (e.g. Adjacency Pairs) • Utterances and its Use Utterances as Basic unit of Speech Speech Acts • Contributing to Discourse Common ground Presentation and Acceptance • Creating Conversation Turn taking Opportunistic/Emergent Properties Structure: Entry, Body, Exit

  43. Barrier Barrier Matcher Director Studying Language in Use (how?) Corpus More recently – Fusing the product tradition with the action tradition.

  44. Director-Matcher

  45. Two people in search of a perspective A: ah boy this one ah boy alright it looks kinda like, on the right top there's a square that looks diagonal B: uh huh A: and you have sort of another like rectangle shape, the like a triangle, angled, and on the bottom it's ah I don't know what that is, glass shaped B: alright I think I got it A: it's almost like a person kind of in a weird way B: yeah like like a monk praying or something A: right yeah good great B: alright I got it

  46. (Later, same card) Trial 2 (~ 11 cards later) B: 9 is that monk praying A: yup Trial 3 (~ 11 cards later) A: number 3 is the monk B: ok

  47. Result(Clark & Wilkes-Gibbs 1986) • Referring expressions become much shorter and more efficient upon re-use • This does not happen when people speak into a tape recorder! (where there is no feedback from an addressee) • This happens because people acquire common ground.

  48. Common Ground • Linguistic referents are established w/in a “domain of interpretation”, which includes context. • One component of context = Common Ground • Mutual knowledge, beliefs, & assumptions among participants in conversation • Comes from community co-membership, physical co-presence, linguistic co-presence, …

  49. Conversation & Common Ground • Clark (1996) • Language = Joint action by people cooperating to achieve particular goals • Optimal communication requires keeping track of what’s in Common Ground and using that in both producing and understanding language • As usual, what’s at issue is timing • How quickly do/can language users make use of knowledge about Common Ground when speaking & listening?

  50. Keysar et al (1998; 2000) Display Director Matcher