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Pragmatics - George Yule

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Pragmatics theory by the author George Yule.

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Pragmatics - George Yule

  1. 1. PRAGMATICS – George Yule
  2. 2. 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) • “The study of the relations between linguistic forms and its users(…)Only pragmatics allows humans into the analysis: their assumptions, purposes, goals, and actions they perform while speaking.” (G.Yule)
  3. 3. PRAGMATICS IS… 1- THE STUDY OF SPEAKER MEANING WHAT PEOPLE MEAN by their utterances rather than what the words or phrases might mean by themselves.
  4. 4. 2- The study of contextual meaning • Importance of the CONTEXT: the circumstances and the audience or public.
  5. 5. 3-The study of how more gets communicated than said. • The INFERENCES made by listeners or readers in order to arrive at an interpretation of the intended meaning. • A great deal of what is UNSAID is recognized as part of what is communicated. • The study of “invisible meaning”
  6. 6. 4-The study of the expression of relative distance • The CLOSENESS or DISTANCE of the listener or reader determines how much needs to be said. For example: 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.)
  7. 7. IN OTHER WORDS… PRAGMATICS studies HOW PEOPLE MAKE SENSE OF EACH OTHER LINGUISTICALLY. For example: A: So_ did you? B: Hey_ who wouldn’t? Two friends in a conversation may imply some things and infer some others without providing any clear linguistic evidence. So, pragmatics requires us to make sense of what people have in mind.
  8. 8. REGULARITY • Luckily, people tend to behave in fairly REGULAR ways when it comes to using language. As part of social groups we follow general expected patterns of behaviour. For example: “I found an old bike. The chain was rusted and the tyres flat”. It would be pragmatically odd to say: “I found an old bike. A bike has a chain. The chain was rusted. A bike aslo has tyres. The tyres were flat.”
  9. 9. 2.DEIXIS and DISTANCE • DEIXIS: “pointing via langauge” To accomplish this pointing we use deictic expressions or indexicals. i.e: “What’s that?” (used to indicate sth. in the immediate context.) Deictic expressions depend on the speaker and hearer sharing the same spatial context, in face-to face spoken interaction.
  10. 10. Types of indexicals Person deixis: used to point people. (me, you) Spatial deixis: used to point location (here, there). Temporal dexis: used to point location in time (now, then). i.e: “I’ll put this here, ok?”
  11. 11. PERSON DEIXIS There are 3 categories: • SPEAKER (I) • ADDRESSEE (YOU) • OTHERS (HE- SHE-IT- THEY) SOCIAL DEIXIS: forms used to indicate relative social status. In many languages deictic categories become markers of relative social status. HONORIFICS: expressions that mark that the addressee is of higher status.
  12. 12. Examples of SOCIAL DEIXIS In Spanish the “Tú”- “Usted” distinction. • The choice of one form will communicate something, not directly said, about the speaker’s view of his relation with the addressee. • The higher, older and more powerful speaker will tend to use the “tú” and viceversa. • Nowadays, the age distinction remains more powerful than the economic distinction in many countries.
  13. 13. Using the 3rd person form • Communicates distance • Also used to make and non-familiarity. accusations: Also, it has an ironic or “Somebody didn’t clean humorous purpose. up after himself” (less i.e: Would his highness like direct than “You didn’t some coffee? clean”
  14. 14. SPATIAL DEIXIS Forms used to point to LOCATION i.e: “Here” and “There” “Come” and “Go” PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCE When speakers mark how close or distant something is perceived to be. i.e: “That man over there” implies psychological distance. DEICTIC PROJECTION: when speakers act as if they are somewhere else. i.e: “I´m not here now.” (telephone answering machine) Recording is a performance for a future audience in which I project my presence to be in the required location.
  15. 15. TEMPORAL DEIXIS Forms used to point to location in time. i.e: “now” - “then” In contrast to now, the distal expression then applies to both past and future time relative to the speaker’s present time. i.e: “I was in Scotland then” “I’ll see you then”
  16. 16. DEIXIS AND GRAMMAR The distinctions for person, spatial, and temporal deixis can be seen at work in English grammar structures such as DIRECT and INDIRECT (reported)SPEECH. i.e: Are you planning to be here this evening? – I asked her.
  17. 17. REPORTED FORM • I asked her if she was planing to be there that evening There’ s a shift from the “near speaker” meaning of direct speech to the “away from speaker” meaning of reported speech, with the use of DISTAL DEICTIC forms.
  18. 18. 3. REFERENCE AND INFERENCE REFERENCE: an act in which a speaker or writer, uses linguistic forms to enable a listener or reader, to identify something. Words in themselves do not refer anything. People refer. REFERRING EXPRESSIONS: linguistic forms like proper nouns, definite or indefinite noun phrases, and pronouns. The choice of one type of these expressions rather than another is based on what the speaker assumes the listener already knows.
  19. 19. FOR EXAMPLE: “Look at him” (use of pronoun) “The woman in red” (definite article) “A woman was looking at you” (indefinite article and pronoun)  So, reference is tied to the speaker’s goals and beliefs about the listener knowledge in the use of language.
  20. 20. INFERENCE • For successful reference to occur, we must recognize the role of INFERENCE and COLLABORATION between speaker and listener in thinking what the other has in mind. Sometimes we use vague expressions relying on the listener’s ability to infer what referent we have in mind: i.e: “The blue thing”, “That stuff” We sometimes even invent names.
  21. 21. PRAGMATIC CONNECTION A conventional association between a person’s name and a kind of object within a socioculturally defined community. i.e: “Can I borrow your Shakespeare?” “Picasso’s on the far wall” Given the context, the intended and inferred referent is not a person but probably a book.
  22. 22. THE ROLE OF CO-TEXT Co- text: the linguistic environment in which a word is used. The co-text clearly limits our range of possible interpretations we might have for a word. i.e: “Brazil wins World Cup” Brazil would be the referring expression, and the rest of the sentence the co-text.
  23. 23. CO- TEXT CONTEXT • Just a linguistic part of the environment in which a referring expression is used. • The physical environment in which a word is used.
  24. 24. GUESS THE CONTEXT FOR THESE REFERRING EXPRESSIONS • “Your ten-thirty just cancelled.” • The heart-attack mustn’t be moved” • “A couple of rooms have complained about the heat”
  25. 25. ANAPHORIC REFERENCE The expressions used to maintain reference to something or someone already mentioned. i.e: “A man was looking at us. He then disappeared.” The initial reference is often indefinite (A man…) and is called the ANTECEDENT. The subsequent reference is definite or a prononun (He…) and is called ANAPHORA.
  26. 26. PRESENTACIÓN ODT
  27. 27. 5. MAXIMS of the COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE 1- QUANTITY: Make your contribution as INFORMATIVE as required. Do NOT make it more informative than required. 2-QUALITY Make your contribution TRUE. Do NOT say what you believe is false. Do NOT say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
  28. 28. 3- RELATION: Be relevant. 4- MANNER: Be perspicuous: • Avoid obscurity of expression • Avoid ambiguity. • Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity) • Be orderly.
  29. 29. These maxims should be recognized as unstated assumptions we have in conversations However, there are certain expressions speakers use to mark that they may be in danger of NOT fully adhering to the principles. HEDGES: cautious notes about how an utterance should be taken when giving information.
  30. 30. EXAMPLES OF HEDGES: • Hedges of QUALITY: “ As far as I know, they’re married.” “I may be mistaken, but I thought I saw a wedding ring on her finger.” “I’m not sure if this is right, but I heard it was a secret ceremony.” “He couldn’t live without her, I guess”
  31. 31. HEDGES OF QUANTITY: “ As you probably know, I’m terrified of bugs” “ So, to cut a long story short, we grabbed our staff and run” “I won’t bore you with all the details, but it was an exciting trip”
  32. 32. HEDGES OF RELEVANCE • “ I don’t know if this is important, but…” • “This may sound like a dumb question, but…” • Not to change the subject, but…” • “ Oh, by the way…” • Well, anyway…”
  33. 33. HEDGES OF MANNER “This may be a bit confused, but…” “I’m not sure if this makes sense, but…” “I don’t know if this is clear at all, but…”
  34. 34. CONVERSATIONAL IMPLICATURE • The basic assumption in conversation is that, otherwise indicated, the participants are adhering to the cooperative principle and the maxims. • The following examples show a speaker conveying more than he said via conversational implicature
  35. 35. a: “I hope you brought the bread and cheese.” b: “Ah, I brought the bread.” • Speaker B assumes that A infers that what is not mentioned was not brought. a: “Do you like ice-cream?” b: “Is the Pope catholic?”
  36. 36. CONVENTIONAL IMPLICATURES • In contrast to the previous implicatures, these ones are NOT based on the cooperative principle’s maxims. • They do NOT have to occur in conversation and don’t depend on special contexts for interpretation. • They are associated with SPECIFIC WORDS and result in additional conveyed meanings.
  37. 37. For example: the English conjunctions BUT and AND The interpretation of any utterance with the word BUT will imply an implicature of CONTRAST and with AND an ADDITION. “Mary suggested black, but I chose white”. • The words EVEN and YET also have conventional implicature. • Even implies contrary to expectation. • Yet implies that the present situation is expected to be differerent at a later time.
  38. 38. 6. SPEECH ACTS and EVENTS • Actions performed via utterances are called Speech Acts. In English they are commonly known as: apology, compliment, complaint, invitation, promise, or request and apply to the speaker’s communicative intention. • The circumstances surrounding the utterance are called the Speech Event and it’s their nature that determines the interpretation of an utterance as performing a particular speech act.
  39. 39. For example: “This tea is really cold!” This utterance can be interpreted as a complaint or as a praise, depending on the circumstances. (If it is winter or summer, a cold or a hot day, etc.)
  40. 40. SPEECH ACTS 1- The locutionary act: the basic act of utterance which produces a meaningful linguistic expression. If you have difficulty in producing a meaningful utterance (because it’s a foreign language or you’re tongue-tied), then you might fail to produce a locutionary act. Aha mokofa WHAT ??
  41. 41. 2. ILLOCUTIONARY ACT • The communicative force of an utterance. We form an utterance with some kind of function in mind: An offer, a statement, a promise, a threat, etc. 3. THE PERLOCUTIONARY ACT: The effect of an utterance
  42. 42. Take the next utterance and state the illocutionary act/force. “ I’ll see you later”
  43. 43. The same locutionary act can represent different illocutionary forces: A prediction A warning A promise
  44. 44. How can the speaker assume that the intended illocutionary force wil be recognized by the hearer? IFIDs: Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices Felicity Conditions
  45. 45. IFIDs Felicity Conditions The most common IFIDs Certain expected or appropiate are performative verbs: circumstances for a speech verbs that explicitly act to be recognized as name the illocutionary intended. act being performed. i.e: “ I sentence you to six i.e: “I promise you that…” “I warn you that…” “I predict that…” months of prison” If the speaker wasn’t a judge in a court, this performance would be infelicitous or inappropiate.
  46. 46. OTHER IFIDs  Word order  Stress  Intonation i.e: “You’re going!” (I tell you) “You’re going?”( I request confirmation) “Are you going?”( I ask you if) Other Felicity conditions  General Conditions: on the participants, for example, that they can understand the same language, and that they aren’t play-acting or being non-sensical. • Content Conditions: for example, a promise must be about a future event.
  47. 47. Preparatory Conditions: specific requirements prior to an utterance in order for it to count as a particular speech act. Sincerity conditions: requirements on the genuine intentions of a speaker. For example: for a promise, the speaker genuinely intends to carry out the future action.
  48. 48. The essential Condition: A requirement that the utterance commits the speaker to the act performed. The utterance changes my state from nonobligation to obligation.
  49. 49. Speech Act Classification 1- DECLARATIONS: speech acts that change the world via an utterance. The speaker has to have a specific role, in a specific context, in order to perform a declaration appropiately. • “I now pronounce you husband and wife” (Priest) • “You’re out” (referee)
  50. 50. 2- REPRESENTATIVES: speech acts that state what the speaker believes to be the case or not. Statements of fact, assertions, conclusions, descriptions, etc. • “The Earth is flat.” • “Chomsky didn’t write about peanuts”.
  51. 51. 3- EXPRESSIVES: speech acts that state what the speaker feels. They express psychological states and can be statements of pleasure, pain, likes, dislikes, joy, or sorrow. • “I’m really sorry!” • “Congratulations!”
  52. 52. 4- DIRECTIVES: speech acts used to get someone else to do sth. They express what the speaker wants. They are: commands, orders, requests, suggestions. They can be positive or negative. • “Gimme a cup of coffee. Make it black”. • “Don’t touch that”. • “Could you lend me a pen, please?”
  53. 53. 5- COMMISSIVES: speech acts used by speakers to commit themselves to some future action. They are: promises, threats, refusals, pledges, etc. • “ I’ll be back”. • “We are going to get it right next time.” • “We won’t do that”.
  54. 54. DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH ACTS • DIRECT: when there’s a direct relationship between the structure (declarative, interrogative, imperative) and its communicative function (statement, question, commnad/request.) • INDIRECT: Indirect relation between the structure and function.
  55. 55. Example of indirect speech acts: • “Move out of the way!” – (the only direct command.) • “Do you have to stand in front of the T.V?”(A question functioning as an indirect command) • “You’re standing in front of the T.V!”.( a declarative functioning as an indirect request)
  56. 56. 7. POLITENESS and INTERACTION • A linguistic interaction is necessarily a social interaction. • We take part in a wide range of interactions, mostly with strangers, where the social distance determined by external factors is dominant. • However, there are other factors, like amount of imposition or degree of friendliness, which are often negotiated.
  57. 57. POLITENESS • “Polite social behaviour” within a culture. We assume that participants in an interaction are generally aware of such cultural norms and principles of politeness. Face: the public self-image of a person. It refers to that emotional and social sense of self that everyone has and expects the other sto recognize. Politeness in an interaction can be defined as the means employed to show awareness of another person’s face.
  58. 58. Examples of social distance: respect or deference “Excuse, Mr. Buckingham, can I talk to you for a second?” Social closeness: friendliness, camaraderie, or solidarity. “Hey, Bucky, got a minute?”
  59. 59. Face Wants: A person’s expectations that their pulic self-image will be respected. • If a speaker says sth. that represents a threat to another individual’s expectations, regarding self-image, it’s described as a facethreatening act. • When someone says an utterance that avoids a potential threat t a person’s face, it’s called face-saving act. Example
  60. 60. A: “I’m going to tell him to stop that awful noise right now!!” (Face-threatening act) B: “Perhaps you could just ask him if he’s going to stop because it’s getting late and we need to sleep…” (Face- saving act)
  61. 61. Self and Other: Say nothing Imagine you arrive at a lecture but you’ve forgotten a pen to take your notes. You think that teh person next to you may provide the solution. In this scenario, you’re going to be SELF, and the person next to you OTHER. You: (look in bag, rummage in, search in pockets) The Other: “Here, use this.”
  62. 62. That was called a “Say nothing approach” • Without uttering a word, you have the intention that your problem will be recognized. • Many people prefer to have their needs recognized by others wihout having to express those needs in langauge. • When those needs are in fact recognized, more has been communicated than was said.
  63. 63. Say something: Off and On record “Uh, I forgot my pen” “Hmm, I wonder where I put my pen” These statements are not directly addressed t the other. The other can act as if they have not even been heard. Off record expressions: utterances not directly addressed t another one.
  64. 64. On record experssions: are direct address froms. “Give me a pen” “Lend me your pen” These are known as bald on record- they’re the most direct approach, like the use of imperatives. Would you lend me a pen, please?” Here we use mitigating devices, like would and please, that soften the demand.

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