- Communicative Competence
- Linguistic Anthropology
- Moses Illusion
- Politeness Strategies
- Pragmatic Competence
- Speech Act
- Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)
- What Is Linguistics?
Etymology:Coined in the 1930s by the philosopher C.W. Morris; developed as a subfield of linguistics in the 1970s.
- "What does pragmatics have to offer that cannot be found in good old-fashioned linguistics? What do pragmatic methods give us in the way of greater understanding of how the human mind works, how humans communicate, how they manipulate one another, and in general, how they use language?
"The general answer is: pragmatics is needed if we want a fuller, deeper, and generally more reasonable account of human language behavior.
"A more practical answer would be: outside of pragmatics, no understanding; sometimes, a pragmatic account is the only one that makes sense, as in the following example, borrowed from David Lodge's Paradise News:
'I just met the old Irishman and his son, coming out of the toilet.'How do we know what the first speaker meant? Linguists usually say that the first sentence is ambiguous, and they excel at producing such sentences as
'I wouldn't have thought there was room for the two of them.'
'No silly, I mean I was coming out of the toilet. They were waiting.' (1992:65)
Flying planes can be dangerousor:
The missionaries are ready to eatin order to show what is meant by 'ambiguous': a word, phrase, or sentence that can mean either one or the other of two (or even several) things.
"For a pragmatician, this is, of course, glorious nonsense. In real life, that is, among real language users, there is no such thing as ambiguity--excepting certain, rather special occasions, on which one tries to deceive one's partner or 'keep a door open.'"
(Jacob L. Mey, Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2001)
- "We have considered a number of rather different delimitations of the field [of pragmatics]. . . . The most promising are the definitions that equate pragmatics with 'meaning minus semantics,' or with a theory of language understanding that takes context into account, in order to complement the contribution that semantics makes to meaning. They are not, however, without their difficulties, as we have noted. To some extent, other conceptions of pragmatics may ultimately be consistent with these. For example, . . . the definition of pragmatics as concerned with encoded aspects of context may be less restrictive than it seems at first sight; for if in general (a) principles of language usage have as corollaries principles of interpretation, and (b) principles of language usage are likely in the long run to impinge on grammar (and some empirical support can be found for both propositions), then theories about pragmatics aspects of meaning will be closely related to theories about the gramaticalization of aspects of context."
(Stephen C. Levinson, Pragmatics. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983)