What Is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is the study of meaning in context. Specifically, it is the study of the impact that a given context can have on the message. The study of pragmatics draws upon such things as the speaker’s identities, the type of utterance and even the place and time of the utterance in order to determine how the message is intended to be received by its audience. The field of pragmatics is closely related to the study of formal semantics, but it is more concerned with how contextual information influences meaning.
The linguistics discipline that is most concerned with pragmatics is known as informal pragmatics, although there are other forms of the discipline as well. For example, computational pragmatics is concerned with how a computer can better approximate human language and information processing abilities by taking into account contextual information. This kind of pragmatics also involves understanding how a computer can distinguish between different objects and their corresponding properties, which is known as reference resolution.
Formal pragmatics, on the other hand, focuses on the grammatical rules that govern the expression of semantic concepts in an utterance. This is important to understand because it is necessary in order for a computer to properly interpret an utterance. The rules that are involved in formal pragmatics include those governing the use of anaphoric and cataphoric pronouns, as well as the designation of deictic demonstratives.
Although pragmatics is an essential part of any language, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone who speaks knows how to use the principles of pragmatics. This is why pedagogy plays such an important role in pragmatics. It is the responsibility of a language teacher to teach his or her students how to communicate in a way that will ensure maximum success.
The basic goal of pragmatics is to provide a complete and accurate description of how people interact when using language. This can be accomplished by analyzing the ways that people manage to communicate with one another, rather than focusing on the sounds of words or their grammatical structure. It also focuses on the social cues that accompany an utterance, and how those cues influence the meaning of the word or phrase.
A major theory of pragmatics is Relevance Theory, which was first proposed by Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson. This theory, which is inspired by Grice’s ideas about implicature, suggests that speakers intend to convey a certain amount of relevant information with every utterance. This is the opposite of a semantic theory, which suggests that an utterance must be completely clear in order to have any meaning at all.
The good news is that many adult learners possess a great deal of the pragmatic knowledge that they need to speak in a particular context, at least as far as the specific pragmatics of their native language is concerned. However, the bad news is that they don’t always make full use of this information. This is especially true in the case of L2 learners. For example, they often underutilize the politeness marking that is available to them in their L1. This can lead to a number of errors in communication that could be avoided.