Language in Use Outline Introduction Context Deixis, reference, anaphora Speech Acts Cooperative principle in conversations Politeness Aims To know what is pragmatics and its main concern; To have a general idea about context and the notions of deixis, reference and anaphora; To understand the Speech Act theory, the Cooperative Principles in Conversation and Politeness Principles in Conversation. Definition of Pragmatics The study of language in use. The study of meaning in context. The study of speakers’ meaning, utterance meaning, & contextual meaning. Introduction Pragmatics is the study of how speakers of a language use sentences to effect successful communication. It studies the following topics: deixis (指示功能), speech acts, indirect language, conversation, politeness, cross-cultural communication, and presupposition. (Dai & He, 2002: 84) Pragmatics is the study of speaker meaning, contextual meaning, how more gets communicated than is said, the expression of relative distance. (Yule, 2000, p. 3) What’s the differences between Semantics and Pragmatics? The origin Semantics Context considered Pragmatics Context unconsidered Traditional semantics Think over: Meaning’s meaning He meant to write. A green light means go. Health means everything. What’s the meaning of life? What does it mean to you? What does ‘ghost’ mean? Intended Indicate has importance Point Convey refer to in the world Semanticists take meaning to be an inherent property of language, pragmatics regard meaning as something that is realized in the course of communication. Pragmatics is concerned with the interpretation of linguistic meaning in context. It is the study of how speakers of a language use sentences to effect successful communication. A: I have a fourteen-year-old son. B: Well, that’s all right A: I also have a dog. B: Oh, I’m sorry. Pragmatics is different from traditional semantics in that it studies meaning not in isolation but in context. Sentence meaning vs. Utterance meaning Today is Sunday. It can be 1. an answer for “what day is it today?” 2. statement 3. complaint 4. reminder 5. criticism (reproach) Context Linguistic knowledge Extra-linguistic knowledge Linguistic knowledge 1. 2. Knowledge of the language they use Knowledge of what has been said before Extra-linguistic knowledge 1. 2. 3. Knowledge about the world in general Knowledge about the specific situation Knowledge about each other Context & language use Context determines the hearer’s interpretation of what is said to him. Context governs the speaker’s use of language. Q: Any examples? Sentence meaning vs. utterance meaning Sentence: abstract units of the language system. Utterance: units of language in use. Utterance: if we think of a sentence as what people actually utter in the course of communication, it becomes an utterance. Sentence meaning What does X mean? Sentence: a grammatical concept, abstract, self-contained unit in isolation from context Sentence meaning: abstract, intrinsic property, decontexualized Utterance meaning What do you mean by X? Utterance: sth. a speaker utters in a certain situation with a certain purpose Utterance meaning: concrete, context-dependent Speakers’ meaning Speaker’s meaning (A father is trying to get his 3-year-old daughter to stop lifting up her dress to display her new underwear to the assemble.) Father: We don’t DO that. Daughter: I KNOW, Daddy. You don’t WEAR dresses. 1. A: Are you going to the seminar? B: It’s on linguistics. 2. A: Would you like some coffee? B: Coffee would keep me awake. 3. A: 我带的钱不够，今天买不了。 B: 那就下次再买吧。 Deixis, reference, anaphora Deixis Person deixis: me, you, him, them Place deixis: here, there, yonder Time deixis: now, then, tonight, last week Deixis, reference, anaphora Reference Reference is defined as an act by which a speaker/writer uses language to enable a listener/reader to identify something. An inference is any additional information used by the listener to connect what is said to what must be meant. Deixis, reference, anaphora Anaphora When we establish a referent (Can I borrow your book?) and subsequently refer to the same object (Yeah, it’s on the table), we have a particular kind of referential relationship between book and it. The second (and any subsequent) referring expression is an example of anaphora and the first mention is called the antecedent. Thus, book is the antecedent and it is the anaphoric expression. Speech act theory Speech act theory: a philosophical explanation of the nature of linguistic communication. It aims to answer this question: “What do we do when using language?” Speech Act Theory John Austin (1911-1960) How to Do Things with Words (1962) speech acts: actions performed via utterances Speech Acts Speech act theory originated with the British philosopher Austin in the late 50’s. John According to this theory, we are performing various kinds of acts when we are speaking. Constatives vs. performatives Austin made the primary distinction between two types of utterances: constative and performative. Constatives: utterances which roughly serves to state a fact, report that something is the case, or describe what something is. The constative utterance is verifiable and it is either true or false. I teach English. I go to the park every day. Performatives Utterances which are used to perform acts, do not describe or report anything at all; the uttering of the sentence is the doing of an action. The performative utterance is used to perform an action, so it has no truth value. Features of performatives The first person singular Speech act verbs / performative verbs The present tense Indicative mood Active voice “I do.” as uttered in the course of a marriage ceremony. I name this ship Elizabeth. ---as uttered when smashing the bottle against the stern. “ I give and bequeath my watch to my brother.” --- as occurring in a will. “ I bet you sixpence it will rain tomorrow.” --- as uttered when making a bet. Austin’s model of speech acts A locutionary act is the act of uttering words，phrases，clauses. It is the act of conveying literal meaning by means of syntax，lexicon and phonology． An illocutionary act is the act of expressing the speaker's intention；it is the act performed in saying something. An illocutionary act In saying X, I was doing Y. In saying “I will come tomorrow”, I was making a promise. Illocutionary force A perlocutionary act is the act performed by or resulting from saying something；it is the consequence of，or the change brought about by the utterance：it is the act performed by saying something． A perlocutionary act By saying X and doing Y, I did Z. By saying “I will come tomorrow” and making a promise, I reassure my friends. Searle’s classification of speech acts Searle also made his contribution to the study of illocutionary speech acts. He specified five types of illocutionary speech acts: 1) Representative 2) Directive 3) Commissive 4) Expressive 5) Declaration 1. representatives: stating or describing, saying what the speaker believes to be true. assert, state, swear, guess, deny, inform, notify, etc I guess that he has come. I think that the film is moving. I am certain that he has come. Directives are attempts by the speaker to get the hearer to do something. Request, advise, order, urge, tell, etc Open the door! Don’t you think it’s a bit stuffy here? Commissives are those illocutionary acts whose point is to commit the speaker to some future course of action. When speaking, the speaker puts himself under obligation. I promise to love you! Commit, promise, threaten, pledge, etc The illocutionary point of expressives to to express the psychological state specified in the propositional content such as apologizing, thanking, congratulating,welcoming etc. It’s very nice of you! Apologize, thank, congratulate, greet, etc. The point of this declaration is to bringing about immediate changes by saying sth. I declare the meeting open. I appoint you chairman of the committee. Declare, appoint, nominate, name, etc. I fire you! Searle’s indirect speech act theory Forms Did you eat the food? Eat the food (please) You eat the food Can you pass me the salt? You left the door open. Interrogative Imperative Declarative Interrogative Declarative Functions Question Command/request Statement request request Searle’s indirect speech act theory When a form such as Did he…?, Are they…? is used to ask a question, it is described as a direct speech act. But the utterance Can you pass the salt? is different. In this example, you would not usually understand the utterance as a question about your ability to do something. In fact, you would not treat it as a question at all. You would treat it as a request and perform the action requested. Yet, this request has been presented in the syntactic form usually associated with a question. Such an example is described as an indirect speech act. Principles of Conversation The co-operative principle Conversational Implicature People do not usually say things directly but tend to imply them. Herbert Paul Grice (1913-1988) William James lectures at Harvard in 1967 Logic and Conversation in 1975 Grice’s theory Logic and Conversation is an attempt at explaining how a hearer gets from what is said to what is meant, from the level of expressed meaning to the level of implied meaning. The Cooperative Principle (CP) In making conversation, Grice holds that there is a general principle which all participants are expected to observe. Make your conversational contribution such as required at the stage at which it occurs by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged. The maxim of quantity 1. Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange). 2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. The maxim of quality 1. Do not say what you believe to be false. 2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. The maxim of relation Be relevant. The maxim of manner 1. Avoid obscurity of expression. 2. Avoid ambiguity. 3. Be brief. 4. Be orderly. CP is meant to describe what actually happens in conversation. People tend to be cooperative and obey CP in communication. When we violate these maxims, in some situations, conversational implicature will arise. Violation of the maxims (Quantity) Make your contribution as informative as is required. A: 昨天上街买了些什么? B: 就买了些东西。 > I don’t want to tell you what I bought. Dear Sir, Mr. X’s command of English is excellent, and his attendance at tutorials has been regular. Yours > Mr. X is not suitable for the job. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. Aunt: How did Jimmy do his history exam? Mother: Oh, not at all well. Teachers asked him things that happened before the poor boy was born. > Her son should not be blamed. Violation of the maxims (Quality) Do not say what you believe to be false. You are the cream in my coffee. X runs as fast as a deer. He is made of iron. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. A: Beirut is in Peru, isn’t it? B: And Rome is in Romania, I suppose. > It’s ridiculous. Violation of the maxims (Relation) Be relevant. A: Prof. Wang is an old bag. B: Nice weather for the time of year. > I don’t want to talk about Prof. Wang. Violation of the maxims (Manner) Avoid obscurity of expression A: Let’s get the kids something. B: Ok, but I veto C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. > Don’t give them chocolate. Avoid ambiguity A: Name and title, please? B: John Smith, Associate Editor and professor. Be brief A: Did you get my assignment? B: I received two pages clipped together and covered with rows of black squiggles. > not satisfied. A: When is Susan’s farewell party? B: Sometime next month. — (flouting the maxim of quantity) A: Would you like to join us for the picnic on Sunday? B: I’m afraid I have got a class on Sunday. — (flouting the maxim of quality) A: How did the math exam go today, Jonnie? B: We had a basketball match with the other class and we beat them. — (flouting the maxim of relation) A: Shall we get something for the kids? B: Yes. But I veto I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M. — (flouting the maxim of manner) What about the following ones? A: Do you know where Mr. X lives? B: Somewhere in the southern suburbs of the city. (said when it is known to both A and B that B has Mr. X’s address.) Would you like to come to our party tonight? I’m afraid I’m not feeling so well today. Characteristics of implicature Cancellability/ defeasibility: If the linguistic or situational contexts changes, the implicature will also change. A: Do you want some coffee? B: Coffee would keep me awake. I do not like coffee. B: Coffee would keep me awake. I want to stay up. Non-detachability: implicature is attached to the semantic content of what is said, not to the linguistic form; implicatures do not vanish if the words of an utterance are changed for synonyms. A: Shall we go to the cinema tonight? B: There’ll be an exam tomorrow. I’ll take an exam tomorrow. Isn’t there an exam tomorrow? Non-conventionality: implicature is different from its conventional meaning of words. It is context-dependent. It varies with context. A1：下午踢球去吧！ A2：老王住院了？ B：上午还在换草皮。 A3: 足球场安装了一个新门柱。 Calculability: hearers work out implicature based on conventional meaning, CP and its maxims, context, etc.