What is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is a branch of linguistics that deals with the way people use words. It involves understanding the context and the relationship between the words in an utterance. It includes the study of how words are used in social and formal settings, and how the relationships between words, sentences, and the context affect the meaning and consequences of those words. The study of how people communicate using language has a long history. During the Classic Period, pragmatics was the focus. In the modern period, philosophical approaches to pragmatics are often divided by whether the focus is on the extent to which the pragmatics is intrusive into the semantics, or the extent to which it is contextually determined.
Some authors define pragmatics as the study of the use of language in context. Others define it as the study of the way words and sentences are used in utterances. These two definitions are not mutually exclusive, and some authors may consider one to be more comprehensive than the other. Generally, though, the term pragmatics refers to a broader category, including ambiguity, linguistic interpretation, and speech act theory. A more specific definition is given in the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
One of the most important topics of philosophy of language has been the study of reports of attitudes. Children learn to listen to parents and teachers, and to understand the meaning of instructions and gestures. They also learn to interpret the world around them, and are often seen to use humor to convey their thoughts and feelings. For example, they raise their hand to answer a question in class instead of shouting.
In addition, children are taught to ask questions, and to follow social norms. This is often done to build relationships, and it shows that a child has a natural ability to use language. However, it can also be challenging, especially for adults.
A major difference between pragmatics and semantics is that pragmatics focuses on how people use language. Semantics is more concerned with the meaning of words. While some semanticists argue that the content of unarticulated words or sentences is not really unarticulated, others claim that this is not so.
Another issue is the distinction between “propositional” and “semantic” presuppositions. Propositional presupposition implies that others involved in a context take the proposition’s truth for granted. On the other hand, semantic presupposition implies that the proposition is understood to be true, even if it isn’t articulated.
According to Grice, the notion of the communicative intention has to be recognized by the addressee. Stalnaker’s theory of a propositional concept includes several methodologies, including the idea of the ‘hearer’s plan’.
The concept of ampliative inference is another area of study in pragmatics. Ampliative inference is the process of making inferences beyond the basic facts. Typical examples of ampliative inference include Bayesian reasoning, and induction. An ampliative inference is not always a propositional inference; it can also be an inference to the best explanation of the utterance.