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PRAGMATICS - REFERENCE AND INFERENCE

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by Florencia Abal on 7 September 2012

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Transcript of PRAGMATICS - REFERENCE AND INFERENCE

REFERENCE AND INFERENCE There was an assumption that the use of words to
refer to people and things was a relatively straightforward
matter There is a convention that certain referring
expressions will be used to identify certain
entities on a regular basis. This appears to
work between all members of a community
who share a common language and culture. DEIXIS? The choice of one type of
referring expression rather than
another seems to be based on
what the speaker assumes the
listener already knows REFERRING EXPRESSIONS An act in which a speaker or
writer uses linguistic forms
to enable a listener or reader
to identify something. REFERENCE Clearly tied to the speaker´s
goals for example, to identify something and the speaker´s beliefs for example, can the listener be expected to know that particular something? Proper Nouns Noun Phrases Pronouns Definite Indefinite Shakespeare
Hawaii the author
the singer a man
a beautiful place in the use of language referring expression Mister Aftershave is late today The speaker is relying on the listener´s ability
to infer what referent we have in mind. For successful refence to occur, we must recognize the role of INFERENCE Wikipedia: "Inference is the act or process of deriving logical conclusions
from premises known or assumed to be true". There´s a man waiting for you. Not all referring expressions have
identifiable physical referents He wants to marry a woman with lots of money. We´d love to find a nine-foot tall basketball player. A man: indefinite noun phrase A woman: entity that is known to the speaker only in terms of its descriptive properties. nine-foot tall basketball player: entities that do not exist. The speaker does not know for sure
if there is a person who could be the
referent of the definite expression. There was no sign of the killer. Attributive use (Whoever
fits the description) If there has been a killer... Referential Referent? Can I borrow your Shakespeare?
Yes, it´s over there on the table. A book. Where´s the cheese sandwich sitting?
He´s over there by the window. Referent? A person. Referent? Shakespeare takes up the whole bottom shelf. Books We´re going to see Shakespeare in London. Referent? A play I hated Shakespeare at school. Referent? Reading his plays There seems to be a PRAGMATIC CONNECTION between
proper nouns and objects that will be conventionally
associated, within a socio-culturally defined
community, with those names. The nature of reference interpretation is also
what allows the readers to make sense of
newspaper headlines using names of
countries. Referring
expression Brazil wins World Cup. Co-text co-text limits the range of
possible interpretations provides a range of reference, that is,
a number of possible referents. The cheese sandwich is made with white bread. The cheese sandwich left without paying. The different co-texts lead to a different type of interpretation in each case. CONTEXT The physical environment It has a powerful impact on how referring expressions are to be interpreted. Context: a restaurant Context? The heart-attack mustn´t be moved. A hospital. Your ten-thirty just cancelled. Context? A dentist´s office A couple of rooms have complained about the heat. Context? A hotel reception In the film, a man and a woman
were trying to wash a cat. The man was holding
the cat while the woman poured water on it. He said something to her and they started laughing. Antecedent? A man and a woman were trying to wash a cat. Anaphor? The man was holding the cat while the woman poured water on it. He said something to her and they started laughing. often indefinite makes reference to already introduced references. This is called CATAPHORA I turned the corner and almost stepped on it. There was a large snake in the middle of the path. It is difficult to interpret until the full noun phrase is presented in the next line. It is less common than Anaphora.
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