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VI. Pragmatics

VI. Pragmatics

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VI. Pragmatics

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  1. VI. Pragmatics

  2. basic notion Pragmatics is a comparatively new branch of linguistic studies It can be defined as the study of how speakers use the sentences of a language to effect successful communication. Pragmatics studies such topics as related to language communication, including deixis, speech acts, indirect language, conversation, politeness, cross-cultural an c communication and presupposition. 6.1.2 Pragmatics vs. semantics What essentially distinguishes semantics and pragmatics is whether in the study of meaning of the context of use is considered. If it is not considered, the study is confined tot the area of traditional semantics; if it is considered, the study is being carried out in the area of pragmatics. 6.1.3 Context The notion of context is essential to the pragmatic study of language. It is generally considered as constituted by the knowledge shared by the speaker and the hearer. Various components of shared knowledge have been identified.

  3. 语境 • 语言知识 语言外知识 • 对语言交际上下文的了解 背景知识 • 对所使用的语言的掌握百科全书式的知识(常识) • 特定文化的社会规范和会话规则 • 情景知识 • 交际的时间, 地点; 主题; 正式程度 • 交际参与者的相互关系 • 相互知识 • 摘引自何兆熊: 语用学概要 P25 • 6.1.4 Sentence meaning vs utterance meaning • (1) Sentence meaning: Sentences are units of the language system to which they belong and not tied to any particular time and place. Sentence meaning refers to the abstract context-dependent entity called semantic proposition. • (2) Utterance meaning is context-dependent. It is generally regarded as the product of sentence meaning and context’ therefore, the meaning of an utterance is, in a sense, richer than the meaning of the sentence from which it is derived. Utterance meaning is identical with the purpose for which the speaker utters the sentence.

  4. 6.2 Speech act theory • 6.2.1 Austin ‘s model of speech acts • Speech act theory was originated with the British philosopher John Austin in the late 1950’s. This theory explains the mature of linguistic communication. According to this theory, we are performing various kinds acts when we are speaking; thus linguistic communication is composed of a succession of acts. • (1)Constative utterance is verifiable and it is either true or false. Performative utterance is used to perform and action, it has no truth value. • (2)A locutionary act is the act of saying something; it is an act of conveying literal • meaning by means of syntax, lexicon and phonology. • An illocutionary act is the act performed in saying something; its force is identical • with the speaker’s intention. • 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.

  5. 6.2.2Searle’s classification of speech acts • A)Representatives: to commit the speaker to something’s being the case, to the • truth of the expressed proposition. • Ex. ( I state) “The earth is a globe” • B)Directives are attempts by the speaker to get the hearer to do something. Ex: • inviting, suggestion, requesting, advising, warning, and threatening ordering. • Ex. Open the window. Your money or your life! • Would you like to go to the picnic with us? • C)Commissives are to commit the speaker to some future course of action, i.e. • when speaking the speaker puts himself under obligation. Promising, • undertaking, vowing are the most typical cases. • Ex: I will bring you he book tomorrow without fail. • D) Expressive is to express the psychological state specified in the prepositional • content. The speaker is expressing his feelings or attitudes towards an existing • state of affairs, e.g. apologizing, thanking, congratulating. I’m sorry for being • late. • Ex: It’s really kind of you to have thought of me.

  6. A)Declarations have the characteristic that the successful performance of an act of this type brings about the correspondence between the prepositional content and reality. • Ex: I declare the meeting open. I appoint you chairman of the committee. • 6.3 Principles of conversation • 6.3.1 The co-operative principle • 1)The maxim of quality • Do not say what you believe to be false • Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. • 2)The maxim of quantity • Make your contribution as informative as required • Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. • 3)The maxim of relation: • Be relevant • 4) The maxim of manner • Avoid obscurity of expression • Avoid ambiguity

  7. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity) • Be orderly • It is interesting and important to note that while conversation participants nearly always observe the CP, they do not always observe these maxims strictly. These maxims can be violated for various reasons, but only when they are “flouted”, does “conversational implicature” occur. Flouting a maxim means violating it blatantly, i. E. both the speaker and the hearer are aware of the violation. When we flout a maxim, our language becomes indirect. • Books for further reading • 1. Preccei, J. S. 2000. Pragmatics. Beijing Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. • 2. 何兆熊: 1998, 语用学概要  上海:上海外语教育出版社  • 3. 何自然:1997, 语用学与英语学习上海:上海外语教育出版社