Pragmatics Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is a branch of linguistics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics involves the study of how language is used in social contexts, as opposed to its purely structural analysis. Pragmatic considerations include the effects of logical structure on meaning, the effects of context and environment on speaker’s and hearer’s knowledge and beliefs, and how language is used to achieve certain ends.The study of pragmatics focuses on the interaction between speakers’ intentions, meanings, contexts and interpretations. This includes such aspects as conversational implicature (indirect meaning), politeness strategies, speech acts (the ways words are used to perform various functions), nonverbal communication and discourse structure (the way conversation is organized). It also considers how different languages use different strategies for expressing meaning efficiently. In addition to understanding how language works in different contexts, pragmatists also focus on understanding how people produce and interpret messages in an effort to communicate effectively with one another. This requires an understanding not only of language but also cultural norms, values, beliefs and expectations that can affect conversations or written texts. Pragmatists often use discourse analysis or corpus-based methods to analyze large amounts of data from natural conversations or other settings to better understand how people communicate with one another in real-world situations. In recent decades there has been increased interest in developing models for natural language processing that take into account more than just syntactic structures but also pragmatic elements such as intended meanings or contextual information. These advances have helped lead us toward more efficient machine translation systems as well as more sophisticated artificial intelligence programs that are capable of understanding conversational speech better than ever before.