Pragmatics

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by Veronica Ricigliano and Jayne Bass

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Pragmatics

  1. 1. Week 8 Pragmatics By: Veronica Ricigliano And Jayne Bass
  2. 2. What are pragmatics? <ul><li>Pragmatics includes the background attitudes and beliefs of the speaker and addressee. </li></ul><ul><li>Their understanding of the context in which a sentence is uttered, and their knowledge of how language can be used to inform, to persuade, to mislead, and so forth </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Pragmatics are divided into three parts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presuppositions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Topics </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Presupposition <ul><li>Definition: the assumption or belief implied by the use of a particular word or structure </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. Have you stopped exercising regularly? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Have you tried exercising regularly? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In example A the speaker has implied that the person speaking knows the listener had been exercising by choosing the word stop. In example B the word tried does not imply any such knowledge about exercising. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Setting <ul><li>Factors relevant to sentence interpretation can include knowledge of the context in which a sentence is uttered, including its physical environment or setting. </li></ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. The bear is coming into the tent! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. The bear is going into the tent! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example A uses the word coming, this places the speaker in the tent and the bear is coming into the tent with the speaker. Example B places the speaker on the outside of the tent, watching the bear entering the tent. I would rather be in sentence B! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Topics <ul><li>Corresponds to what a sentence or a portion of the discourse is about. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. The police chased the burglar. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B. The burglar was chased by the police. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example A has the subject doing the action of chasing, so our topic is about the police chase. Example B, the burglar is the one being chased </li></ul>
  7. 7. Grice’s Conversational Maxim <ul><li>Our ‘how to’ rules for conversation </li></ul><ul><li>As speakers of a language, we are able to draw inferences about what is meant but not actually said </li></ul><ul><li>Conversational Maxims or guidelines ensure that conversational interactions actually satisfy the Cooperative Principle </li></ul>
  8. 8. Conversational Maxims <ul><li>The Maxim of Relevance gives listeners a bottom line for inferring the intent of other speakers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be relevant! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Maxim of Quality requires that the statements used in conversations have some factual basis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be true to your statement! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Maxim of Quantity introduces some very subtle guidelines into a conversation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not be more or less informative! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Maxim of Manner imposes several constraints on language use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be brief! </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Tower of Babel <ul><li>There are between 4,000 and 6,000 different languages. </li></ul><ul><li>These other languages differ from English in 6 main ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>English is an ‘isolating’ language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English is a ‘fixed-word-order’ language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English is an ‘accusive’ language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English is a ‘subject prominent’ language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English is an SVO language (Subject Verb Object) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In English, a noun can name a thing in any construction </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Throughout the chapter, the six points were re-examined and it was shown that these six traits can be found in the English language. </li></ul><ul><li>These differences among languages are the effects of three processes acting over long spans of time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mutation - ‘linguistic innovations’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heredity - the ability to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Isolation - by migration or social barriers </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Learning <ul><li>Pinker shows the comparison of the evolution of language to the evolution of species. </li></ul><ul><li>“Learning is an option, like camouflage or horns, that nature gives organisms as needed - when some aspect of the organisms’ environmental niche is so unpredictable that anticipation of its contingencies cannot be wired in.” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Any part of language can change <ul><li>Many phonological rules came about when the hearers in communities reanalyzed rapid speech </li></ul><ul><li>Phonological rules governing the pronunciation of words can be reanalyzed into morphological rules governing the construction of them </li></ul><ul><li>Reanalysis can take two variants of one word - created from the other by an inflectional rule and recategorize them as two different words </li></ul><ul><li>Some rues can be formed when the words that accompany them get eroded and then glued on </li></ul><ul><li>Syntactic constructions can arise when a word order that is merely preferred becomes reanalyzed as obligatory. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Language splitting - The Lord’s Prayer <ul><li>OLD ENGLISH : Faeder ure thu the eart on heofonum, si thin nama ehalgod. Tobecume thin rice. Gewurthe in willa on eorthan swa swa o heofonum. Urne gedaeghwamlican hlaf syle us to deag. And forgyg us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfath urum gyltedum. And ne gelad thu us on contnungen ac alys us of yfele. Sothlice. </li></ul><ul><li>CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH : Our Father, who is in headen, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come into being. May your will be followed on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us this day our food for the day. And forgive us our offenses, just as we forgive those who have offended us. And do not bring us to the test. But free us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Pinker, p. 261 <ul><li>“ People store genes in their gonads and pass them to their children through ther genitals; they store grammar in their brans and pass them to their children through their mouths. Gonads and brains are attatched to each other in bodies, so when bodies move, genes and grammars move together. That is te only reason that geneticists find any correlation between the two.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>But to pass on a language it needs to be carried on by the children of the last generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the languages that are around now will not be around because there is not enough people passing them on or using them. </li></ul><ul><li>In the end - a language is a medium from which a culture’s verse, literature, and song can never be extricated. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Reading and Morphology <ul><li>Two different views are Sociopsycholinguistic view and Word Recognition view. </li></ul><ul><li>Word recognition teachers use phonics to identify words and structural analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers using the sociopsycholinguistic view engage students in language from a scientific, linguistic perspective. Students develop rules for language </li></ul>
  17. 17. Recognizing word parts <ul><li>This is when a word is divided into its meaningful parts, or morphemes </li></ul><ul><li>Big words contain little words, but the little words aren’t actually meaningful morphemes </li></ul><ul><li>Phonology and morphology donít always match </li></ul><ul><li>Prefixes can change spelling depending on the first sound in the root word </li></ul><ul><li>Part of a root word may be pronounced as part of a prefix or a suffix. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Learning the meaning of word parts <ul><li>Students recognize that a word is composed of separate parts. This leads to better understanding of words </li></ul><ul><li>About 60% of English words have Latin or Greek roots, and most students donít know Latin or Greek </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes it would be easier to learn a new word than to understand the Greek and Latin roots of English words </li></ul><ul><li>Some prefixes have more than one meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Suffixes undergo fewer changes than prefixes </li></ul><ul><li>Suffixes serve to indicate the part of speech </li></ul>
  19. 19. Word Recognition (preteach) v. S ociopsycholinguistic view (background knowledge) <ul><li>Preteaching vocabulary is difficult, what words do they choose? </li></ul><ul><li>Students need to see a word in contest to develop a sense of how the word is used, not just learn a definition </li></ul><ul><li>Frontloading is the approach to helping students build both the concepts and the vocabulary they need to read texts. (Hoyt 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Sociopsycholinguistic view of reading provides time for students to read because they believe that extensive reading is the best way for students to develop their vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Problem! Extensive vocabulary takes time away from reading. Students acquire more vocabulary from reading then vocab lessons </li></ul>
  20. 20. Acquiring Language <ul><li>Vocabulary is acquired not learned. </li></ul><ul><li>Seashore and Eckerson (1940) estimated that adults know about 156,000 words </li></ul><ul><li>Lorge and Chall (1963) revised the number to 40,000 words. </li></ul><ul><li>Pinker (1994) adjusted this number to 60,000 words after a thorough study </li></ul><ul><li>Average high school graduate knows 60,000 words. This number does not match the vocabulary lessons learned in school. </li></ul><ul><li>20 words a week - 36 weeks in a school year = 720 words a year x 12 years of school = 8,640. This does not match the average of 60,000 word </li></ul><ul><li>Gildea (1987) estimated that young children (age 4 to 6) pick up an average of fourteen new words per day. This would be about 5,000 words a year. This would come closer to the 60,000 average </li></ul>
  21. 21. What does it mean to know a word? <ul><li>Linguistic perspective: knowing a word involves having phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic information. This information can come only through seeing or hearing the word in a variety of natural contexts </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Phonological information - Ability to recognize a word in oral language and being able to pronounce the word constitute part of knowing a word </li></ul><ul><li>Morphological information - Knowing a word means knowing the inflectional and derivational affixes it combines with to produce complex words </li></ul><ul><li>Syntactic information - Part of knowing a word is knowing how it functions in a sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Semantic information - Knowing a word means someone can define it or give a synonym. It also refers to extended or metaphorical meaning of words </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatic information - the real world use of a word </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Development of Academic English <ul><li>The academic language register of English, which includes words used in academic texts and discussions, includes many words from Greek and Latin. </li></ul><ul><li>Every day vocabulary comes from: Romans, Celtic, Angles and Saxons, Germanic tribes, Latin, Vikings, Norman-French and Greek. </li></ul><ul><li>English learners must be able to use academic language to succeed in school settings. </li></ul><ul><li>Most English that is heard or read comes from the conversational register. </li></ul>
  24. 24. How can we help students learn? <ul><li>Build background knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Preview texts </li></ul><ul><li>Teach ways to use graphic organizers </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive reading </li></ul>
  25. 25. Content-specific and general academic vocabulary <ul><li>Donley and Reppen (2001) point out that students encounter two types of academic language: content-specific vocabulary and general academic vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>Content specific vocabulary includes technical words related to specific academic discipline. Example: fault, ethnocentrism, protagonist and googol. </li></ul><ul><li>General academic vocabulary consists of words that cut across disciplines and appear in many kinds of textbooks. Examples: context, therefore, hypothesis, and longitudinal. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Content-Specific Words <ul><li>Students tend to acquire context-specific vocabulary more quickly than general academic vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>Are strongly connected with the topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Are often typographically enhanced. </li></ul><ul><li>Are often defined by glosses within the text or at the end of a chapter </li></ul>
  27. 27. Cognate study <ul><li>Cognates are words that come from the same root, that were literally “born together” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: English word hypothesis and Spanish word hipotesis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge from one language can transfer to a second language. </li></ul><ul><li>Words may be thought of as labels for concepts, if a student knows a concept in the first language the student can more easily acquire the vocabulary for that concept in a second language. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can help students access cognates by engaging them in activities that increase their awareness of similar words across language </li></ul>

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