Pragmatics and Computational Linguistics
The field of Pragmatics is concerned with the ways that language is used to communicate and interact with others. It focuses on the communicative intention that is conveyed through an utterance, and how this is understood by listeners. This includes things such as the speaker’s emotions and attitudes, the context in which the utterance is said, and what other information is known about the speakers. Pragmatics is considered a subfield of linguistics, and it can be studied in conjunction with semantics, syntax, and semiotics.
Unlike other areas of study, such as grammar, which concerns the rules that govern how language is put together, and semantics, which deals with the meaning of individual words or concepts, pragmatics considers the implication of an expression. It is sometimes described as “meaning minus semantics.”
The concept of Pragmatic has been around for a long time, and there have been many philosophical approaches to it. Different theorists have focused on different aspects of communication, such as how a speaker uses sarcasm and irony in conversation or how to avoid giving off-color jokes. Ultimately, pragmatism is an attempt to explain how people use language in a way that is useful for them and their listeners.
While a person may have a good understanding of vocabulary and grammar, he or she may not be able to communicate their intentions clearly. This is a sign of pragmatic deficits and can lead to difficulties with social interaction. A child with autism spectrum disorder, for example, may have an excellent vocabulary and grasp of grammar, but he or she may be unable to communicate his or her thoughts and feelings in conversation. Therapists can help to improve these social skills by teaching pragmatic strategies and techniques.
Pragmatics is also a key component in computational language processing, an area of artificial intelligence research that aims to better understand human natural language and information processing abilities. A large part of computational pragmatics involves reference resolution, which is how computers determine what a word or phrase is referring to. Another aspect of computational pragmatics involves dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty in human language.
In a similar vein, pragmatic marketing is a method of product development that allows businesses to gather customer feedback in the form of features and benefits. Companies can use this information to develop a prototype of their product and have customers test it out before taking it to market.
Pragmatic approaches to a variety of subjects can be found in the academic world, including philosophy, literature, psychology, and sociology. They share the belief that language is a fundamental social phenomenon that should be studied as a part of human life and culture. Some of the most notable pragmatic philosophers include John Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein.