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Transcript of Pragmatics
The Study of Meaning in Context
there are expressions with a context-dependent meaning
Pragmatics focus on...
- the process of communication which results from the interaction
between speakers and hearers
- concepts such as utterance meaning, intention and inference
> communication is primarily seen as the negotiation of meaning
> recognition of the speaker's communicative intention
The telephone is ringing.
A: "That's the telephone."
B: "I'm in the bath."
Justus-Liebig- Universität Gießen
Introduction to English Linguistics
Instructor: Dr. Beate Damm
A presentation by Marlene Beller, Catharina Erbe, Ina Herkenhoff,
Rebecca Jänicke, Milena Jung, Vanessa Pisching, Jana Zelder
"Pragmatics = meaning minus semantics"
: What does X mean?
What does the speaker mean
by uttering X?
Classification of illocutionary acts (Searle)
Devices indicating illocutionary force:
speech act verbs
the sentence type
the speaker performs a primary speech act via a secondary speech act
the hearer has to interfere the speaker's real intention
with a book about
- who is the writer?
- what point of time?
- what date?
- how big?
we can only understand the sentence if we know the context-dependent meaning of this expressions
speaker, place and time
normally shifts when another speaker starts talking
can be projected on the hearer or reader
“When you read these lines
, I’ll be no longer in the country.”
deictic expressions have to be replaced
said he wouldn’t be
the following Monday
Types of Deixis
personal and possessive pronouns are used
– other persons
here - there
near - far
left - right
come - go
bring - take
borrow - lend
1. Semantic or logical inferences
based on conventional meaning of words, phrases
X: There is a bobtail.
Y: There is a dog.
-> If sentence X is true, sentence Y is also true.
John managed to repair his computer.
pre 1: John tried to repair his computer.
pre 2: John has a computer.
-> predications that are taken for granted when sb. says sth.
2. Pragmatic inferences
require some contextual knowledge
A: What time is it?
B: The evening news just started.
principles, which are basic for human interactions
levels of cooperation
content related maxims form related maxims
quality quantity relation manner
KORTMANN, Bernd: English Linguistics: Essentials. Anglistik.Amerikanistik. Cornelsen Verlag: Berlin, 2005. 223-235.
a. Happy Birthday!
b. Merry Christmas!
c. I hereby declare the meeting is closed
d. A: Will you come to my party tonight?
B: I'm still fighting the flu.
a. to c => The truth is not relevant
It's crucial that the message is conveyed successful
d. => Truth value
Crucial intention B is not coming to the party
Origin of Pragmatics
True origin of pragmatics
ordinary language philosophy
study of meaning in context
Two concepts which are important to logic
1. Truth conditions
2. Truth values
1. Speech Act Theory
2. Theory of conversational implicatures
Speech Act Theory
made by a certain
in a certain
are not important
crucial aspect =
"There is a policeman at the corner."
One statement -> four illocutions
a) speakers follow the maxims or
b) speakers violate the maxims
A: Would you like some dessert?
B: Do they eat rice in Japan?
(conversational implicature: Yes, of course)
A: Where does John spend his holidays?
B: Somewhere in Germany.
relates to the social status of a person
to indicate the social status expressions like
Sir, Madam, Your Honor, Mr President
Deixis of Manner
is always accompanied by gesture
The book was
The fish was
Why don´t you do it like
I bet you haven´t heard this story.
in the last chapter, in the next paragraph, as mentioned above...
in conclusion, all in all, anyway, however...
a) <all, most, many, some>
b) <always, often, sometimes>
A: Many kids ate biscuits.
B: John often lies.
We always assume that the person we are talking to is cooperative and observes the maxims, at least to a certain extent.
As far as I know...
This may be irrelevant but...
I'm not sure whether it's true but...
(Ana)phoric use of Deictic Expressions
entity which has already been introduced
will be introduced later in the conversation or text
In 1998 Fiona worked as a part-time teacher.
and had three children.
were two, four and eight years old.
Mandy wants to go to the theatre, but doesn´t know how to get
is a kind man who gives a million dollars to the poor.