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BBI 3219

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BBI 3219

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  1. BBI 3219 Semantik & Pragmatik

  2. Pragmatics • The study of meaning in context • Situational context • Linguistic context • Social context • Utterances not sentences • Deixis • Speech Acts • Cooperation Principles & Implicature • Politeness

  3. Deixis • “Deixis is a technical term (from Greek) - ‘pointing’ via language. • Any linguistic form used to accomplish this ‘pointing’ is called a deictic expression. • When you notice a strange object and ask, ‘What’s that?’, you are using a deictic expression(‘that’) to indicate something in the immediate context. • Deictic expressions are also sometimes called indexicals. [Yule, 1996: 9]

  4. Person deixis: Any expression used to point to a person (me, you, him, them) Place / Spatial deixis: Words used to point to a location (here, there, yonder) Time / Temporal deixis: used to point to a time (now, then, tonight, last week) • All these deictic expressions have to be interpreted in terms of what person, place or time the speaker has in mind. • There is a broad distinction between what is marked as close to the speaker (this, here, now) and what is marked as distant (that, there, then). • It is also possible to mark whether movement is happening towards the speaker's location (come) or away from the speaker's location (go).

  5. Temporal Deixis: Tenses • indicating past, present, and future time • must also be regarded as deictic, because past, present, and future times are defined by reference to the time of utterance. • The present tense - proximal form • the past tense - distal form. • The actual distance or proximity to be expressed means not only the distance from current time, but also distance from current reality or facts(Yule 1996, 14-15). • Coding vs receiving time: • An utterance in present tense was produced “during a temporal span including the coding time” (Levinson 2005, 115). • Past tense would mean that the event took place before the coding time.


  7. Declarative sentences like There’s a snake in the grass may involve more than a description of the world: The speaker could be: • guessing that there was a snake in the grass • claiming ... • warning the hearer that ... • expressing his surprize that ... • expressing his relief that there is ...

  8. Language can be used not just for describing the thoughts and beliefs conveyed, but rather of the acts the speakers perform: the illocutionary forces of uttrances. • State • Conclude • Apologize • Complain • Reprimand • Correct • Offer • Invite • Greet • Congratulate We do things with words

  9. A speech act is an action performed by means of language Ex.: describing something ("It is snowing.") asking a question ("Is it snowing?") making a request or order ("Could you pass the salt?", "Drop your weapon or I'll shoot you!") making a promise ("I promise I'll give it back.")

  10. We use language to do a wide range of things. Ex.: Conveying information: The PM is out of the country. Requesting information: When and where is the lecture? Giving orders: Stand up! Making requests: Please, carry my bags. Making threats: Do that again, and I’ll send you to your room. Giving warnings: There’s a spider on your shoulder. Giving advice: You ought to go to the lectures every week. and so on...

  11. A PERFORMATIVE utterance is one that actually describes the act that it performs, i.e. it PERFORMS some act and SIMULTANEOUSLY DESCRIBES that act. • Which one is a performative and which is not? Why? • ‘I promise to repay you tomorrow’ • ‘John promised to repay me tomorrow’

  12. ‘I promise to repay you tomorrow’ is performative because in saying it the speaker actually does what the utterance describes, i.e. he promises to repay the hearer the next day. That is, the utterance both describes and is a promise. • ‘John promised to repay me tomorrow’, although it describes a promise, is not itself a promise.

  13. Performatives vs. Constatives • Performatives: Utterances that are used to do things or perform acts. 1. I pronounce you man and wife. 2. I sentence you to 50 years in prison. 3. I promise to drive you to Singapore. Austin initially also believes that Performatives can not be verified as true or false. • Constatives: Utterances that can be verified as true or false. These utterances were typically in the form of assertions or statements. “The Michigan River sometimes freezes over”.

  14. PERFORMATIVE VERBS • I assert that | the Prime Minister is out of the country. • I ask | when and where is the lecture? • I order you to | stand up. • I request that you | carry my bags. • I warn you that if you | do that again, and I’ll send you to your room. • I warn you that | there’s a spider on your shoulder. • I bet you | fifty dollars that New Zealand will beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup. • I advise you to | go to the lectures every week. These sentences have verbs that state the speech act. These sentences are explicit performatives. These verbs are calledperformative verbs. These verbs can be used to perform the acts they name.

  15. Not every speech act has its own explicit performative verb…….. The performative hypothesis Ex.: Clean up this mess! This is an impicit performative (no performative verb is present) How can I define its communicative intention / what kind of speech act is it?

  16. The “hereby” test One simple way to decide whether a speech act is a performative (an implicit performative) is to insert the word “hereby” between subject and verb. If the resulting utterance makes sense, then the speech act is probably a performative. Hereby: As a result of this, by this means Ex: Clean up this mess! I hereby order you that you clean up this mess. (ordering) Please, take out the garbage. I hereby request you to take out the garbage. (making a request)

  17. FELICITY CONDITIONS • In order for a performative utterance to ‘work’, there are certain conditions that have to be met. • Austin called these felicity conditions—they’re the conditions that must be in place for the act in question to come off successfully (or felicitously).

  18. FELICITY CONDITIONS The context and the situation that allow us to recognize a speech act as intended by the speaker. The conditions that must be fulfilled for a speech act to be satisfactorily performed or realized A sentence must not only be grammatically correct, it must also be felicitous , that is situationally appropriate.

  19. FELICITY CONDITIONS • Felicity conditions: expected or appropriate circumstances for a speech act to be recognized as intended I sentence you to six months in prison - performance will be infelicitous if the speaker is not a judge in a courtroom

  20. Locutionary, Illocutionary and Perlocutionary Speech Acts • Austin (1962) says that when a speaker utters a sentence, s/he may perform three types of acts: locutionary act, illocutionary act and perlocutionary act.

  21. Locutionary Act • The basic act of speaking • Making meaningful utterance • An act of uttering a sentence with a certain sense and reference, which is roughly equivalent to ‘meaning’ in the traditional sense. • The final exam will be difficult.

  22. Ilocutionary Act • an act of performing some action in saying something (e.g, warning); • Is the speaker’s intention. What is said has a purpose in mind. • An utterance either verbal or written with the purpose in mind to fulfill an intention or accomplish an action. • Performing an Illocutionary act means issuing an utterance that carries an illocutionary force/point.

  23. Ilocutionary Act • Examples of illocutionary forces would be accusing, promising, naming, ordering. (1) The final exam will be difficult. • By uttering (1), the speaker may be performing the act of informing, claiming, guessing, reminding, warning, threatening, or requesting.

  24. Perlocutionary Act • What speakers bring about or achieve by saying something, such as convincing, persuading, deterring. • (1) The final exam will be difficult. • By uttering (1), I may have achieved in convincing you to study harder for the final exam

  25. A sentence can be associated with several different illocutionary forces, depending on the discourse context. (3) I will send you an email next week. • By uttering (3) the speaker can report a decision, and at the same time make a promise.

  26. Searle’s typology of speech acts Searle grouped speech acts into five types: Examples: Match the examples to correct category: • “Wow, great!“ • “I’ll be back in five minutes.“ • “Chinese characters were borrowed to write other languages, notably Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.“ • Jury foreman: “We find the defendant not guilty.“ • “Turn the TV down.“

  27. Searle’s typology of speech acts Searle grouped speech acts into five types: Examples: Match the examples to correct category: Expressives: “Wow, great!“ Commissives: “I’ll be back in five minutes.“ Representative: “Chinese characters were borrowed to write other languages, notably Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.“ Declarations: Jury foreman: “We find the defendant not guilty.“ Directives: “Turn the TV down.“

  28. Types of Illocutionary act • Searle classifies Speech Acts into five categories: 1.Assertives/ Representatives: commit the Speaker to the truth of the expressed proposition. They have a truth value and express Speaker’s belief that p. Paradigm cases: asserting, concluding, affirming, alleging, announcing, answering, attributing, claiming, classifying, concurring, confirming, conjecturing, denying, disagreeing, disclosing, disputing, identifying, informing, insisting, predicting, ranking, reporting, stating, stipulating.

  29. Searle’s speech act classification 2. Directives: are Speech Acts which are attempts the Speaker makes in order to get the addressee engage in a certain action. They express Speaker’s wish that Hearer do the act A. • Paradigm cases include requesting, questioning, advising, admonishing, asking, begging, dismissing, excusing, forbidding, instructing, ordering, permitting, requiring, suggesting, urging, warning.

  30. Searle’s speech act classification 3. Commissives: commit Speaker to some future course of action. Speaker expresses the intention that Speaker do the act A. • Paradigm cases comprise promising, threatening, offering, agreeing, guaranteeing, inviting, swearing, volunteering .

  31. Searle’s speech act classification 4. Expressivesexpress Speaker’s attitude to a certain state of affairs specified (if at all) in the propositional content; a variety of different psychological states; propositional content must be related to Speaker or Hearer. • Paradigm cases: thanking, apologizing, welcoming, congratulating, condoling, greeting, accepting.

  32. Searle’s speech act classification 5. Declarations are Speech Acts which effect immediate changes in the institutional state of affairs and which tend to rely on elaborate extralinguistic institutions. • Paradigm cases include excommunicating, declaring war, christening, marrying, firing from employment.

  33. A single utterance can express two different illocutionary forces at the same time. (1) I will send you an email next week. By uttering (1), the speaker can report a decision, and at the same time make a promise.

  34. Indirect speech acts • Searle also recognized the existence of indirect speech acts. • In a direct speech act there is a direct relationship between its linguistic structure and the work it is doing. • In indirect speech acts the speech act is performed indirectlythrough the performance of another speech act.”

  35. 1(a) ‘Come in, please.’ is a direct request. 2(a) ‘It is quite wrong to condone robbery.’ is a direct assertion against robbery. 3(a) ‘You should go to the doctor.’ is a direct piece of advice. • Performing an indirect speech act, the speaker utters a sentence which does not mean exactly what he or she says: 1(b) ‘Won’t you come in?’ is not merely a Yes-No question.  an indirect request made in a very concerned manner. 2(b) ‘Is it right to condone robbery?’ is an indirect assertion against, robbery though it is in form of a Yes-No question. 3(b) ‘Why don’t you go to the doctor?’ is not used to ask for any reason. Instead, it is used to give an indirect piece of advice though it is in form of a Wh-question

  36. Indirect speech acts are more polite than their direct counterparts. The more indirect a speech act is, the more polite it is. • The most influential model of politeness is Brown and Levinson’s face-saving-model.

  37. Politeness and interaction • General idea of politeness: fixed concept of social behavior/etiquette within a culture, involves certain general principles as being tactful, generous, modest, sympathetic towards others • Narrower concept of politeness within an interaction: face= the public self-image of a person (emotional and social sense of self one has and expects everyone else to recognize)

  38. Politeness (Brown and Levinson 1987) • Face is the public self image that every member wants to claim for himself. • Individual's self-esteem (face) motivates strategies of politeness (solidarity, restraint, avoidance of unequivocal impositions). • Within everyday social interaction people generally behave as if their expectations concerning their face wants (i.e. public self-image) will be respected • Positive face • Negative face

  39. Politeness (Brown and Levinson 1987) • Positive face: individual’s desire to be accepted and liked by others; positive self-image or ‘personality’ • Positive politeness orients to preserving the positive face of others. • Speech strategies that emphasize solidarity with the addressee, e.g. claiming common ground, conveying that speaker and addressee are co-operators

  40. Negative face: individual’s right of freedom of actions; the basic claim to territories, personal preserves, rights to non-distraction -- i.e., to freedom of action and freedom from imposition • Negative politeness orients to maintaining the negative face of others. • Speaker tends to choose the speech strategies that emphasize his deference to the addressee. • As rational agents, conversational participants will ideally try to preserve both their own face and the other’s in a verbal interaction.

  41. Face-threatening acts (FTAs) are speech acts that intrinsically threaten face, for example complaints, disagreements and requests. • Speaker says something that represents a threat to another individual's expectations regarding self-image. • FTAs can threaten positive face (e.g. accusations, insults, criticism), negative face (e.g. orders, suggestions, requests) or both positive and negative face (e.g. complaints, threats)

  42. Face saving act: speaker says something to lessen a possible threat • Situation: Young neighbour is playing loud music late at night. Older couple cannot sleep. A: I'm going to tell him to stop that awful noise right now! B: Perhaps you could just ask him if he's going to stop soon because it's getting a bit late and people need to get to sleep.

  43. Indirect speech acts • Which one does more to save the addressee's negative face? • Could you pass the salt? • Pass the salt. • Is there a difference in positive politeness?

  44. Politeness Theory (Brown and Levinson 1987) • This theory holds that the speakers considering the performance of a speech act will generally choose more polite strategies in proportion to the seriousness of the act. • There are four different levels of polite strategies that have the potential to gain the goal: • Bald on Record • Positive Politeness • Negative Politeness • Off-record Strategy

  45. 1.Bald on Record • This strategy is a direct way of saying things, without any minimisation to the imposition, in a direct, clear, unambiguous and concise way. • Directly address the other person to express your needs • Using imperative forms ‘‘Wash your hands’’ Generally, however, bald on record expressions are associated with speech events where the speaker assumes he/she has power over the other - in everyday interaction between social equals they are avoided as face threatening acts

  46. 2. Positive Politeness • Acts of saving or protecting the hearer's positive face • This strategy is directed to the addressee's positive face, her/his perennial desire that her/his wants - or the actions, acquisitions, values resulting from them - should be thought of as desirable. • A face saving act concerned with the person's positive face will tend to show solidarity, emphasize that both speakers want the same thing and have a common goal • e.g. strategies seeking common ground or co--operation, such as in jokes or offers: ‘‘Wash your hands, honey”

  47. Positive Politeness Strategies St. 1 Noticing, attending to H St. 2 Exaggeration St. 3 Intensifying interest to H St. 4 Using in- group identity makers St. 5 Seeking agreement St. 6 Avoiding disagreement St. 7 Presupposition/ raise/ assert common ground St. 8 Joking St. 9 Asserting or presuppose S’s knowledge of and concern for H’s wants St. 10 Offering and promising St. 11 Being optimistic St. 12 Including both S and H in the activity St. 13 Giving (or ask) reasons St. 14 Assuming or asserting reciprocity St. 15 Giving gifts to H (goods, sympathy, understanding, cooperation)

  48. 3. Negative Politeness • Negative politeness attends to a person's negative face needs and includes indirectness and apologies. It expresses respect and consideration. • A face saving act oriented to a person's negative face tends to show deference, emphasizes the importance of the other's time or concerns and may include an apology for the imposition

  49. 3. Negative Politeness Strategy 1: Being conventionally indirect Strategy 2: Questioning, hedge Strategy 3: Being pessimistic Strategy 4: Minimizing the imposition Strategy 5: Giving deference Strategy 6: Apologizing Strategy 7: Impersonalising S and H Strategy 8: Stating the FTA as a general rule