Presented to Sir Kashif Rao
Presented by Rabia Mansoor
Subfield of Linguistics and Semiotics
Studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning
Word pragmatics comes from Latin pragmaticus - fit for
Term first appeared in linguistic philosophy in 1930’s, by
C.W. Morris, Wittgenstein & Austin
Developed as subfield of linguistics in the late 1970’s
Publication of Journal of Pragmatics, publishing of
Pragmatics by Levinson and International Pragmatics
Association in 1988 are the three important incidents that
mark the recognition of Pragmatics as an independent
discipline in Linguistics.
Pragmatics is the
Example‘The chicken is ready to
‘Sherlock saw the man with
Pragmatics is the
Pragmatics is the study of
Example: Do you know where I can get
There‟s a gas station around the corner.
Example: The book is lying on that table (close
The book is lying on the table next to the wall
painted red in the lounge. (long distance)
Pragmatics is the study of the
Syntax (phrases &
s is the
• Study of relationship between linguistic
forms, how they are arranged in
sequence and which sequence are well-
• Without any world of reference or any
user of the forms
• Example: Cat drinks the milk (SVO)
• Study of the relationship between linguistic
forms and entities in the world
i.e. how words literally connect to the things
• Semantic analysis – establish relationship
between verbal description and state of
affairs in the world as true or not
• Example: The dog hopped over the mat
and played with the ball
• Study of relationships between
linguistic forms and the users of those
forms - (humans).
• Example: Get me a cup of coffee
Advantages of Pragmatics in
• People‟s intended meaning
• Their assumptions
• Their purposes or goals
• And kind of actions
Example: Have you got any cash on you?
deep meaning – Can you lend me some money, I don‟t
have much on me
• Difficult to reach to true meaning
• We can not get into the mind of the other
• Every individual has his or her own approach
• Level of understanding varies
Example: Red rose.
Are you Punjabi?
Regularity derives from the fact that
people are members of social groups and
follow general patterns of behavior
expected from within the group.
It is a use of regular patterns of language.
In a new, unfamiliar social setting we
are often unsure about what to say and
worry that we might say the wrong thing.
In Saudi Arabia questions about one’s
health should not be answered with
details, instead a phrase 'Praise to God’ is
People within a linguistic community have
similar basic experiences of the world and share
a lot of non-linguistic knowledge. e.g.
I found an old bicycle lying on the ground. The
chain was rusted and the tires were flat.
There is no need to ask why chain and tires are
mentioned (knowledge about bicycles)
I found an old bicycle. A bicycle has a chain. The
chain was rusted. A bicycle also has tires. The tires
This is an example of odd impression, one would
assume more is communicated than is said and also
gives the impression that other person do not have
In this example, the use of linguistic forms is not
inaccurate but one should be careful that the meaning
conveyed through pragmatics should not be
A pragmatic regularity is a kind of pragmatic implication
(i.e., carried by the act of using a particular expression in a
particular context, as opposed to being constitutive of what
is semantically expressed)
with a use of a sentence (in
context) is a function of two factors:
Paradigmatic examples of pragmatic regularities include:
1. Gricean generalized conversational implicatures (GCIs)
(e.g., ‘X is meeting a woman this evening’)
2. Rhetorical uses of interrogatives (e.g., ‘Who do you think you
3. Certain kinds of standardized irony (e.g., ‘Way to
They are just simply common patterns of usage which regularly
convey a certain implicature, independent of what is semantically
Generalized conversational implicatures
1. X is meeting woman this evening.
2. X went into house.
 would normally implicate that the person to be
met was someone other than X’s
wife, mother, sister, and  would normally
implicate that the house is other than X’s own.
Based on such cases, it might be said that a lack of
familiarity, ownership is commonly communicated
by the use of the indefinite article ‘ ’.
3. X broke a finger.
4. X has been sitting in a car all morning.
This claim rests only on the following assumptions:
(i)  would normally implicate that X broke X’s own finger
(ii)  is completely neutral as to whether or not the car was
There is nothing remotely non-literal or non-standard
about these latter uses of ‘a’. Hence  and  here is a
pragmatic matter (i.e., carried by the speaker’s use of the
indefinite article in this particular context, as opposed to a
matter of what is semantically expressed by ‘a’).
GCIs are cancelable
“I am meeting a woman this
evening, and she is my mother.”
So, this phenomenon instanced by  and  is a case
wherein something communicated (with a use of an
expression, in context) seems to be pragmatically
implicated, not semantically expressed.
Consider the following:
Why are you so lazy?
• The use of this (in context) semantically expresses a
question about the cause of, or explanation for, the
addressee‟s laziness. Literal uses of it are thus relatively
rare (e.g. a therapist might literally ask this of her
•What is more common is that speakers use this question
rhetorically – i.e., to pragmatically implicate that the
addressee is lazy. In general, and as is typical of rhetorical
uses of questions, while what semantically expresses is
Consider an utterance of the following, in a context in
which a mistake or accident has just occurred:
Way to go, Einstein!
There is a non-literal, mocking use of a famous name.
So, there is communicative regularity.
That’s why this is ‘standardized’irony – as an
empirical matter, non-literal, mocking uses of
such expressions are epidemic.
The utterance occurs in the novel by Khushwant Singh's ‘Train to
Pakistan’. This utterance is directly addressed to Juggut Singh by
Malli. The implicit force of the above utterance is intermingled with
cultural assumptions. In Indian context, when someone wants to
comment on somebody's inability, effeminacy, or to insult someone
severely, the expressions such as 'wear the bangles' or 'put henna on
your palms' are used. 'Bangles’ and 'henna' are closely associated to
women and women are considered to be delicate objects of beauty and
not the bravery. Thus, the speaker using elements of beautification i.e.
'bangles' and 'henna‘ implicitly compares Juggut Singh with a woman
and challenges his bravery.
Reference to immediate context
The pragmatics wastebasket
• Unnecessary things to be excluded or
knocked off in the „wastebasket‟
the duck ran up to Mary and licked her
• Concerned with the rules that determines the
• Put to wastebasket the incorrect ones
Up duck Mary to the ran
And _ licked her
The duck licked Mary and ran up to her
• Interpret order of mention as a
reflection of order of occurrence
• Nagane, Dhanaji. "A Study of Speech Acts in
Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan." Indian
Streams Research Journal 1.12 (2012).
• George Yule. “Pragmatics”.Oxford University
• Sullivan, Arthur. "On Pragmatic
Regularities." Philosophical and Formal Approaches
to Linguistic Analysis (2012): 491.