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Chapter 6 Pragmatics

I. Decide whether each of the following statements is True or False:

l. F    2. F     3.T     4.T     5.F     6.F     7.F     8.F     9.F     10.T     11.T     12.F

 

II. Fill in each blank below with one word which begins with the letter given:

13. Pragmatics     14. semantics    15. context     16. utterance     17. abstract

18.Constatives     19. Performatives     20. locutionary     21. illocutionary

22. commissive     23. expressive    24. quantity

 

III. There are four choices following each statement. Mark the choice that can best complete the statement:

25. A     26.C     27.D     28.B     29.C    30.B

31.A     32.C     33.B     34.C     35. A    36.D

 

IV. Define the terms below:

37. pragmatics: Pragmatics can be defined as the study of how speakers of a language use sentences to effect successful communication.

38. Context: Generally speaking, it consists of the knowledge that is shared by the speak-er and the hearer. The shared knowledge is of two types: the knowledge of the language they use, and the knowledge about the world, including the general knowledge about the world and the specific knowledge about the situ-ation in which linguistic communication is taking place.

39. utterance meaning: the meaning of an utterance is concrete, and context-dependent. Utterance is based on sentence meaning; it is realization of the abstract meaning of a sentence in a real situation of communication, or simply in a context.

40. sentence meaning: The meaning of a sentence is of-ten considered as the abstract, intrinsic property of the sentence itself in terms of a predication.

41. Constative: Constatives were statements that either state or describe, and were verifi-able ;

42. Performative: performatives, on the other hand, were sentences that did not state a fact or describe a state, and were not verifiable. Their function is to perform a particular speech act.

43. locutionary act: A locutionary act is the act of uttering words, phrases, clauses. It is the act of conveying literal meaning by means of syntax, lexicon and phonol-ogy.

44. illocutionary act: An illocutionary act is the act of expressing the speaker's intention; it is the act performed in saying something.

45. perlocutionary act: A perlocutionary act is the act per-formed by or resulting from saying something; it is the consequence of, or the change brought about by the utterance; it is the act performed by saying something.

46. Cooperative Principle: It is principle advanced by Paul Grice. It is a principle that guides our conversational behaviours. The content is : Make your conversational contribution such as is required at the stage at which it occurs by the accepted purpose or the talk exchange in which you are engaged.

 

V. Answer the following questions as comprehensively as possible. Give examples for illustration if necessary:

47. How are semantics and pragmatics different from each other ?

Traditional semantics studied meaning, but the meaning of language was considered as something intrinsic, and inherent, i.e. a property attached to language itself. Therefore, meanings of words, meanings of sentences were all studied in an isolated manner, detached from the context in which they were used. Pragmatics studies meaning not in isolation, but in context. The essential distinction between semantics and pragmatics is whether the context of use is considered in the study of mean-ing . If it is not considered, the study is restricted to the area of traditional semantics; if it is considered, the study is being carried out in the area of pragmatics.

48. How does a sentence differ from an utterance?

A sentence is a grammatical concept. It usually consists of a subject and predicate. An utterance is the unit of communication. It is the smallest linguistic unit that has a communicative value. If we regard a sentence as what people actually utter in the course of communication, it becomes an utterance. Whether “Mary is beautiful.” is a sentence or an utterance de-pends on how we look at it. If we regard it as a grammatical unit or a self-contained unit in isolation, then it is a sentence. If we look at it as something uttered in a certain situation with a certain purpose, then it is an utterance. Most utter-ances take the form of complete sentences, but some utterances are not, and some cannot even be restored to complete sentences.

49. How does a sentence meaning differ from an utterance meaning ?

A sentence meaning is of-ten considered as the intrinsic property of the sentence itself in terms of a predication. It is abstract and independent of context. The meaning of an utterance is concrete, and context-dependent. The utterance meaning is based on sentence meaning; it is realization of the abstract meaning of a sentence in a real situation of communication, or simply in a context. For example, “There is a dog at the door”. The speaker could utter it as a matter- of- fact state-ment, telling the hearer that the dog is at the door. The speaker could use it as a warning, asking the hearer not to approach the door. There are other possibilities, too. So, the understanding of the utterance meaning of “There is a dog at the door” de-pends on the context in which it is uttered and the purpose for which the speaker utters it.

50. Discuss in detail the locutionary act, illocutionary act and perlocutionary act.

A locutionary act is the act of uttering words, phrases, clauses. It is the act of conveying literal meaning by means of syntax, lexicon and phonol-ogy. An illocutionary act is the act of expressing the speaker's intention; it is the act performed in saying something. A perlocutionary act is the act per-formed by or resulting from saying something; it is the consequence of, or the change brought about by the utterance; it is the act performed by saying something. For example:

You have left the door wide open.

The locutionary act performed by the speaker is that he has uttered all the words " you,' " have," " door," " left," " open," etc. and expressed what the word literally mean.

The illocutionary act performed by the speaker is that by making such an utterance, he has expressed his intention of asking the hearer to close the door.

The perlocutionary act refers to the effect of the utterance. If the hearer understands that the speaker intends him to close the door and closes the door, the speaker has successfully brought about the change in the real world he has intended to; then the perlocutiohary act is successfully per-formed .

 

51. Searle classified illocutionary act into five categories. Discuss each of them in detail with examples.

1) representatives: representatives are used to state, to describe, to report, etc.. The illocutionary point of the representatives is to commit the speaker to something's being the case, to the truth of what has been said. For example:

(I swear) I have never seen the man before.

(I state) the earth is a globe.

 

2) directives: Directives are attempts by the speaker to get the hearer to do some-thing. Inviting, suggesting, requesting, advising, warning, threatening, or-dering are all specific instances of this class.

For example:

Open the window!

3) commissives: Commissives are those illocutionary acts whose point is to commit the speaker to some future course of action. When the speaker is speaking, he puts himself under obligation. For example:

I promise to come.

I will bring you the book tomorrow without fail.

 

4) expressives: The illocutionary point of expressives is to express the psychological state specified in the utterance. The speaker is expressing his feelings or attitude towards an existing state of affairs, e.g. apologizing, thanking, congratulating. For example:

I'm sorry for the mess I have made.

5) declarations: Declarations have the characteristic that the successful performance of such an act brings about the correspondence between what is said and reality. For example:

I now declare the meeting open.

 

52. What are the four maxims under the cooperative principle ?

The maxim of quantity

1. Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange) .

2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

 

2. The maxim of quality

1. Do not say what you believe to be false.

2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

 

2. The maxim of relation

Be relevant.

.

The maxim of manner

1. Avoid obscurity of expression.

2. Avoid ambiguity.

3. Be brief ( avoid unnecessary prolixity) .

4. Be orderly.

 

53. How does the flouting of the maxims give rise to conversational implicatures ?

A: Do you know where Mr. Smith lives?

B: Somewhere in the southern suburbs of the city.

This is said when both A and B know that B does know Mr. Smith' s address. Thus B does not give enough information that is required, and he has flouted the maxim of quantity. Therefore, such conversational implica-ture as "I do not wish to tell you where Mr. Smith lives" is produced.

A: Would you like to come to our party tonight?

B: I'm afraid I' m not feeling so well today.

This is said when both A and B know that B is not having any health problem that will prevent him from going to a party. Thus B is saying some-thing that he himself knows to be false and he is violating the maxim of qual-ity. The conversational implicature " I do not want to go to your party tonight" is then produced.

A: The hostess is an awful bore. Don't you think?

B: The roses in the garden are beautiful, aren't they ?

This is said when both A and B know that it is entirely possible for B to make a comment on the hostess. Thus B is saying something irrelevant to what A has just said, and he has flouted the maxim of relation. The conver-sational implicature "I don't wish to talk about the hostess in such a rude manner" is produced.

A: Shall we get something for the kids?

B: Yes. But I veto I - C - E - C - R - E - A - M.

This is said when both A and B know that B has no difficulty in pro-nouncing the word "ice-cream." Thus B has flouted the maxim of manner. The conversational implicature "I don’t want the kids to know we are talking about ice-cream" is then produced.