Pragmatics A quick summary Pragmatics and semantics • What does X mean? • What do you mean by X? – Leech 1983 Linguistic context • Amazingly, he already loves her • Without linguistic context, we don’t know – who he is – who she is – why it’s so remarkable Physical Context • A: Oh no, … … … … … …. …. .. .. • B: Don’t panic, I’ll take you to the bank • Can you think of two completely different ways to complete A? • They should exemplify the two different meanings of bank. Economy of effort • Phonology, especially assimilation, says: – we are lazy – we do just enough to be understood • Meaning is the same • Indirect speech act: – You are standing on my foot. – No need to add Please move it! • Same with inference – You must bring Yule to every class. – I don’t mean the man himself! Anaphora also save effort • Read p116-7 • Which of these is better (saves effort)? – I want to buy that puppy. That puppy is so cute. – I want to buy that puppy. It is so cute. • And – I want to buy that puppy. It is in a pet store. It looks so sad in the pet store. – I want to buy that puppy. It looks so sad in the pet store. Direct speech acts • Question – Did you eat the pizza? • Request – Please eat the pizza! • Statement – You ate the pizza Indirect speech acts • Usually a polite request to do something • Can you please eat some pizza? • Do you have room for some more pizza? • The DAE paid a lot of money for this pizza. – Probably they all mean Please eat the pizza. • If not interpreted correctly, communication can break down – Q: Do you know what time it is? – A: Yes, thank you, I do. Performative verbs • If you say “I love my girlfriend”, you are just talking. You are not actually performing an act of love. • If you say “I promise to love my girlfriend”, you are actually performing a promise in the act of speaking. • Note performative verbs are usually in the simple present (even though you are doing them “right now” – That is true of: What other kind of verb? Performative verbs? • I enjoy linguistics very much. • I sentence you to 24 hours community service. • I pronounce you man and wife. • I owe you a lot of money. • I swear to love you for ever. • I swear at bad drivers every day. • I guess she’s not coming then.
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