What Is Pragmatics?
The question of how words are used in communication can be answered with a little help from Pragmatics. This branch of philosophy is centered on the nature of communication, and the relationship between the meaning of words and the actions of speakers. While the two fields are related, pragmatics stands at one end of the spectrum, while semantics lies on the other. To learn more about Pragmatics, keep reading. In this article, we’ll explore some of its main features and how it can help us understand communication.
The most basic step toward becoming a pragmatic is enhancing your language skills. This includes your choice of words and how you use them in conversations. For example, while common jargon and slang are acceptable in everyday conversation, they’re not always appropriate in a professional setting. So, you’ll want to learn to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate language. Practice this skill and you’ll find it much easier to navigate a conversation.
Besides the skills of communication, being a pragmatic person will help you build relationships with others and empathize with others. Pragmatic skills will also help you fit in with the culture of a company. Learning to be more pragmatic will improve your career prospects. You’ll be able to build relationships with co-workers and get along with people in your workplace. You’ll also be able to deal with major changes and transitions.
The use of context can be a great help in determining how a sign is used. For instance, a sign at the airport might have multiple meanings. If someone unfamiliar with the airport uses it to travel, they might misinterpret the sign and think it says “take the escalator.” By contrast, when a person is asked the same question, the answer will depend on the context. But this is where pragmatics comes in.
This branch of philosophy is a subset of semantics. The study of language’s context is at the heart of Pragmatics. It studies how people use language and how different aspects of linguistic interpretation are affected by context. Some branches of Pragmatics include speech act theory and conversational implicature. A good reference to this branch of philosophy is the Blackwell Companion to Philosophy. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy includes an entry on Pragmatics.
The focus of contemporary philosophical pragmatic theory often centers on the relationship between semantics and the meaning of language. Relevance theory emphasizes the extent to which pragmatics has invaded linguistic meaning. While the former focuses on meaning and its role in communication, the latter focuses on how semantics influences language and speech. This view has implications for the study of language and its context. There are numerous ways to study pragmatics, but most approaches are similar.