ENG 2003 Pragmatics 1 Pragmatics The study of language use. Specifically, pragmatics involves the study between the linguistic meaning and the speaker meaning. Recall that many utterances (The door is behind you!) have a speaker meaning on top of the linguistic meaning. Thus what a speaker says contains a layer of linguistic meaning and additionally a layer of speaker meaning. excellent lay-person discussion on this topic: Haiman, J. 1998. Talk is Cheap. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
more technical information on semantics, pragmatics and implicature: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicature/ 2 Implicature and Impliciture Alan: Barb: Are you going to Pauls party tonight? I have to work. Here, Barb implicates that she is not going to Pauls party.
We say that Barbs statement contains an implicature. We use the following notation: A + B A implicates B In the context above, I have to work + I am not going to Pauls party tonight. The implicature above is dependent on the context. Phil:Are you going to the opera tonight? Barb: I have to work. 3
conversational implicature A conversational implicature draws its meaning from the context of the conversation and real world knowledge. Barb is relying on Alans real world knowledge that people cannot be at two places at once (work and a party) and that ones work obligations typically overrule ones desire to attend a party. A: B: Do you know what time it is? I forgot my watch at home today. 4
John went into a house and found a hippopotamus. (implicates that its not his own house) Mary got pregnant and got married. (implicates she got pregnant before she got married) Mary got pregnant and then got married. (asserts that she got pregnant before she got married) 5 scalar implicature Implicates a scalar or quantificational relation of an entity. Some athletes smoke. (implicates that not all athletes smoke) Only some athletes smoke.
(asserts that not all athletes smoke) conventional implicature (controversial!!) A conventional implicature is part of the meaning of the expression. Shes poor, but honest. (implicates that poverty and honesty are typically negatively correlated) Many people feel that this is actually part of the assertion of the sentence above and not merely an implicature. 6 Conversational and scalar implicatures can be cancelled. (1) Mary got pregnant and got marriedbut not in that order. (2) *Mary got pregnant and then got marriedbut not in that order. ex. (1) contains implicature, which is cancelled.
ex. (2) contains an assertion, which is contradicted. (3) Many athletes smokein fact, all of them do. scalar implicature is cancelled. Alan: Are you going to Pauls party tonight? Barb: I have to workbut Im going anyways. particularized conversational implicature is cancelled. 7 Implicature versus Entailment Entailments cannot be cancelled while implicatures can. (This is why conventional implicatures are so controversial.) John is a tall man John is a man. #John is a tall man, but hes not a man.
Some of the children ate some candy. + Not all of the children ate some candy. Some of the children ate some candyin fact, all of them did. We will adopt this distinction but not worry about the fact that conventional implicatures appear to be anomalous. Entailments cannot be cancelled. Implicatures can be cancelled. 8 Sometimes the difference between entailment and implicature is difficult to determine. A: Did you drive somewhere yesterday? This question requires a yes or a no as an answer. B: I drove to Ithaca.
Does this implicate or entail a yes as an answer? B drove to Ithaca entails/implicates that B drove somewhere. #I drove to Ithaca, but I didnt drive anywhere, though. Therefore Bs answer entails a yes answer to As question. 9 Speech Acts Illocutionary Act How the speaker intends the addressee to handle or deal with the proposition. Its chilly in here Illocution is a request to close the window or turn the heat on. Perlocutionary Act What happens as a result of the speakers utterance. Large dinner table with several people eating: Is there any kimchi?
Sentence meaning: Request for information as to whether any kimchi is present. Illocutionary Act: Request to pass kimchi to the speaker. Perloctionary Act: Someone passes the kimchi to the speaker. 10 Conversational Maxims Cooperative Principle Make your contribution appropriate to the conversation. Paul Grice established the four following Conversational Maxims that regulate cooperative conversation. Sometimes these maxims are violated (or flouted) for satirical effect, etc. The Maxim of Relevance Be relevant
What would you like for dinner? Lasagne good answer Theres nothing on TV tonight. violates Maxim of Relevance 11 Conversational Maxims The Maxim of Quality Try to make your contribution one that is true. (Do not say things that are false or for which you lack adequate evidence.) What did you have for dinner last night? Lasagne good answer, assuming you actually had lasagne What do you think of my lasagne? Its pretty good. Maxim of Quality can be suspended to be polite.
Its gross. satisfies Maxim of Quality; rather rude, but depends on situation. We can say that the Maxim of Quality can be flouted in order to be polite. 12 Conversational Maxims The Maxim of Quantity Do not make your contribution more or less informative than required. Where does Margaret Atwood live? Toronto fine, if youre just learning basic information about Canadian writers, but not if youre delivering a package to her house. What did you cover in class today? Answer depends on whos asking your parents or a class-mate who was absent from class.
13 Conversational Maxims The Maxim of Manner Avoid ambiguity and obscurity. Be brief and orderly. I had lunch with the guy who Susan is married to. I had lunch with Susans husband. daughter: father: I think I want to get married before I finish university. I will force you to marry no one.
There is no out there such that I will force you to marry them. (daughter can marry whoever she wishes) What I will force you to do is marry no one (daughter cant get married at all) 14 Conversational Maxims Conversational implicatures can arise as the result of obeying Gricean maxims: A: Where is your husband? B: In the kitchen or the living room. Bs answer implicates that the speaker does not know which room he is in. What Gricean maxim is important here? Manner: avoid obscurity.
The speaker (B) wouldnt be offering an obscure answer if the husbands whereabouts were known to B. 15 Conversational Maxims Conversational implicature is frequently used to flout the Maxim of Relevance. Alan: Are you going to Pauls party tonight? Barb: I have to work. Barbs work schedule is irrelevant to Alans question. Thus, we can deduce that her response contains an implicature. A: Do you want to order pizza for dinner tonight? B: The phone lines are down. Again, whether the phone lines are down or not is irrelevant to what B wants for
dinner. 16 Impliciture An impliciture is a statement that contains an implied expression but is left blank. (1) The distraught man ran to the edge of the cliff and then he jumped. We understand this to mean he jumped off the cliff and not, say, backwards or up onto a rescue helicopter. The difference between impliciture and implicature is often hotly debated. Lets say at the last minute the distraught man jumped back from the edge of the cliff to safety. Is (1) above a lie? Most people have the intuition that it is. Saying that (1) contains the impliciture off the cliff captures this intuition.
17 Patient: Am I going to die? Doctor: Yes, I guarantee it! Here, the doctor (assumedly for humorous effect) , is ignoring the impliciture in the patients question. Am I going to die (soon/from this disease)? An implicature can be cancelled, but an impliciture cannot. An impliciture is considered to be an unexpressed part of an assertion. People tend to have the following intuititions, too. If a statement, A, contains an implicature which is false, then A is misleading. Mary got pregnant and got married. (misleading if it didnt happen in that order) If a statement, A, contains an impliciture which is false, then A is false (or a lie)
He ran to the edge of the cliff and jumped. (a lie if he jumped back to safety) 18 There is a number of grey areas and points for further discussion: Do you have $5? Suppose you have $10. Would a no answer be a lie? Do you have 2 kids to be picked up? (said at a baby-sitting service) Suppose you have 3 kids. Would a no answer be a lie here? 19
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