Pragmatics

Jessica Gledhill
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Jessica Gledhill
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Pragmatics

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Pragmatics
  1. Intro: Lecture 14
    1. The study of those aspects which do not seem to come directly from the compositional semantics
      1. Context-dependent meaning
        1. Non-literal
          1. Inferred meaning
            1. Meaning minus semantics
            2. Grice: Lecture 14
              1. KEY PROPOSAL
                1. Distinction between what is SAID (encoded directly) and what is IMPLICATED (meaning derived)
                2. CO-OPERATIVE PRINCIPLE
                  1. Verbal communication is OSTENSIVE
                    1. Ostensive communication is INTENDED in order to co-operate with the principle
                      1. Social theory of communication: pragmatic reasoning is derived through social function
                      2. MAXIMS & FLOUTS
                        1. QUALITY: Make your contribution true, do not say what you believe to be false, or what you lack evidence for
                          1. Flout: Speaker is not trying to make a truthful contribution. Examples include IRONY, SARCASM, and UNCERTAIN responses
                          2. QUANTITY: Give as much information as is required & make contributions efficiently informative
                            1. Flout: Speaker does not give the right amount of information. Examples include SHORT REFERENCES and UNINFORMATIVE responses
                            2. RELEVANCE: Make your contributions relevant
                              1. MANNER: Avoid ambiguity and obscurity, and be orderly and precise.
                                1. Flout: Also similar for relevance, speaker is purposefully being ambiguous. Examples include literary style and euphemisms
                                2. Flouts
                                  1. Flouts are intentional violations of maxims, and assuming Co-operative Principle is being obeyed, the hearer assumes the speaker had a good reason to violate.
                                    1. When a flout is heard, it is assumed the speaker is trying to communicate something that is not directly encoded, and this is a conversational implicature
                                      1. From speaker-oriented perspective
                                  2. Sperber & Wilson's Relevance Theory: Lectures 16-18
                                    1. CRITIQUE OF GRICE
                                      1. Stipulative & not embedded in a psychologically plausible theory of mind
                                        1. The calculation of 'what is said' does not involve pragmatic inferencing
                                          1. No criteria for identifying the maxims, and essential concepts are left undefined
                                          2. PROPOSAL
                                            1. Analyse the maxims under Relevance alone, intending to communicate shows what we have to say is relevant and therefore worth the processing effort
                                              1. Continue to work --> Sufficient pay off received. Work=processing info by pragmatic inferencing, Pay off = 'positive cognitive effects' & set of implicatures. No pay off = effort wasted = Stimuli considered not relevant
                                              2. COGNITIVELY PLAUSIBLE THEORY
                                                1. Must model the role of context and the role of intention recognition
                                                  1. Based on Fodor (1983), the theory should be COMPUTATIONAL, SYMBOLIC, MODULAR & REALIST
                                                  2. PRINCIPLES OF RELEVANCE
                                                    1. INFERENTIAL model of communication = linguistic info is only one source of evidence for determining the interpretation; other stimuli & info can also play a role
                                                      1. Yields "positive cognitive effects"
                                                        1. True contextual implications (additional true propositions)
                                                          1. Warranted strengthening (propositions that come with strengths)
                                                            1. Revisions of existing propositions (changed with incoming new info)
                                                            2. 1. "Human cognition tends to be geared to the maximisation of relevance"
                                                              1. Human cognition is efficient because of evolution. Evidence includes face recognition and identifying speech sounds. It's possible that this relates to specific brain modules.
                                                              2. 2. "Every act of overt communication conveys a presumption of its own optimal relevance"
                                                                1. The idea that what we have to say is relevant and worth processing.
                                                              3. Cognitive theory that considers brain activity as the key element in deriving implicatures
                                                                1. Effects of co-operative principle deduced from general cognitive pressures to derive useful stimulus from the environment
                                                                  1. Hearer-oriented perspective
                                                                  2. Implicatures: Lectures 14, 15 & 21
                                                                    1. CONVENTIONAL
                                                                      1. Committing oneself to X being the case, without actually saying something that would be false if the implicatures was false
                                                                        1. Distinguishes between what the speaker is committed to and what is actually true
                                                                          1. Describe the non-truth-conditional aspects of the meaning of certain lexical items
                                                                            1. Examples include the COUNTER-EXPECTUAL aspect of 'but' in 'She is poor but honest' and the SEQUENTIAL aspect of 'and'
                                                                              1. Triggers can consist of presupposition triggers, which indicates the overlap
                                                                                1. Additive particles like 'too'
                                                                                  1. Discourse particles
                                                                                    1. Implicative verbs like 'fail'/'manage'
                                                                                      1. Intonational contours
                                                                                    2. CONVERSATIONAL
                                                                                      1. Inferences drawn on the basis of the assumption of co-operation
                                                                                        1. Part of the inferred meaning, NOT the encoded meaning
                                                                                          1. Meaning derived from the inferences of flouts
                                                                                          2. SCALAR
                                                                                            1. Example: 'some' implies 'not all'
                                                                                              1. This part of the meaning goes beyond what is directly encoded, so it provides additional meaning
                                                                                                1. Horn Scales (1972)
                                                                                                  1. Horn proposes the Gricean analysis that scalar implicatures are proposed on the basis of co-operation and is avoiding violating as many maxims as possible
                                                                                                    1. Set of scale alternatives given by conventional meaning of scalar items.
                                                                                                      1. <all, most, many, some>
                                                                                                        1. If the scalar item appears in the scope of negation, or other downward-entailing environment, the scale REVERSES, so we use lower scale alternatives
                                                                                                          1. Believes that individuals will differ in their assessment of the scale relations because they are lexically defined
                                                                                                          2. Exclusivity Implicature
                                                                                                            1. Sentences with disjunction of 'or', the truth table states that both p+q could be true, but this meaning is different to what we usually assign to or. We usually assume that both is not an option for 'or'
                                                                                                          3. Not truth-conditional meaning, and so speakers can distance themselves from them. This means that they are CANCELLABLE.
                                                                                                            1. Subset of inferences
                                                                                                            2. Presuppositions: Lectures 19-21
                                                                                                              1. TRIGGERS
                                                                                                                1. ASPECTUAL TRIGGERS: aspectual predicates like 'continue'/'stop', attitude predicates like 'regret'/'know'
                                                                                                                  1. ANTI-UNIQUENESS TRIGGERS: indefinite articles
                                                                                                                    1. EXISTENTIAL TRIGGERS: definite determiners, demonstratives, proper names, pronouns, quantifiers
                                                                                                                      1. EXCLUSIVE TRIGGERS: words like 'only'
                                                                                                                        1. FACTIVE TRIGGERS: clefts
                                                                                                                          1. SCALAR TRIGGERS: words like 'even', imply the likelyhood
                                                                                                                            1. IMPLICATIVE TRIGGERS: words like 'fail'/'manage' imply there was an attempt
                                                                                                                              1. EVIDENTIAL TRIGGERS: Modal 'must' implies there is a lack of direct evidence
                                                                                                                              2. KEY PROPERTIES
                                                                                                                                1. Not truth-conditional: the propositions do not need to be true to be presupposed
                                                                                                                                  1. Backgrounded: Not the main point of a proposition, but it is assumed in the background. Evidence: it's very hard to pick out presuppositions & object to them in discourse. This distinguishes them from conventional implicatures.
                                                                                                                                    1. Projective: Preserved under negation and other operators, which do NOT preserve entailment.
                                                                                                                                      1. Antecedent of a conditional
                                                                                                                                        1. Yes/no questions
                                                                                                                                          1. Under a possibility adverb
                                                                                                                                            1. Under a belief predicate
                                                                                                                                            2. Pluggable: Some predicates plug presuppositions, meaning they stop them being attributed to the speaker, by projecting them out of the embedded clause.
                                                                                                                                              1. Uncancellable: Presuppositions seem to be cancellable, but negation is difficult
                                                                                                                                                1. Require dynamic accommodation: Presuppositions impose a demand upon the hearer to modify their context model, especially if they weren't aware of the 'shared' assumption.
                                                                                                                                                  1. Stalnaker (1974) modelled the shared set of presuppositions as THE COMMON GROUND - presuppositions as pre-conditions on common ground updates
                                                                                                                                                    1. Assertions: 'proposals to update the common ground'
                                                                                                                                                      1. Presuppositions: 'conditions which need to be met for updates to the common ground to work'
                                                                                                                                                      2. Conditions for accommodation are when we don't want to make a fuss/don't necessarily care (SOCIAL ASSUMPTION)
                                                                                                                                                        1. Presuppositions can sometimes be INFORMATIVE - possessives give rise to the form 'X has Y'
                                                                                                                                                      3. FAILURE
                                                                                                                                                        1. The situation where an expression which gives rise to a presupposition is used in a situation where it is not met.
                                                                                                                                                          1. Example includes a failure to satisfy the UNIQUENESS PRESUPPOSITION in which definites seem to give rise to
                                                                                                                                                            1. We tend to make an effort to rectify the failure & satisfy the presupposition conditions by considering what the unique proposition could refer to
                                                                                                                                                          2. Explicatures: Lecture 18
                                                                                                                                                            1. Sperber & Wilson use the term 'explicatures' to distinguish what is said from what is merely encoded.
                                                                                                                                                              1. Used to describe the proposition which is explicitly communicated by a given utterance - the proposition we arrive at once the context fills in the gap in the encoded message
                                                                                                                                                                1. Developments of logical forms which correspond to 'what is said' in a RT framework
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pragmatic processes involved in deriving explicatures include: disambiguation, saturation (reference assignment), free enrichment (adding unarticulated constituents) and 'ad hoc concept construction' (narrowing meaning)
                                                                                                                                                                    1. Carston (2002): 'What the speaker meant'
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Situations where explicated meaning is important include: sequential and, where the idea of 'and then' is meant
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Lexical Ambiguity & Reference Assignment: Lecture 16 & 20
                                                                                                                                                                        1. Instance where context is important for communication
                                                                                                                                                                          1. Ambiguous lexical items with double meanings need to be modulated by the context in order for us to process the correct meaning. This is ultimately a matter of REFERENCE ASSIGNMENT. Pragmatics is required to enrich the proposition and fill in the content
                                                                                                                                                                            1. Filling in process primarily involves associating parts of grammatical representation with entities in context
                                                                                                                                                                              1. Example includes assigning reference to pronouns, Some pronouns are referential, such as 'Every boy thinks he is nice'. This is known as a BOUND pronoun, and it has VARIABLE REFERENCE
                                                                                                                                                                                1. ANAPHORA
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Deep: pronouns can be filled in by anything
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Surface: ellipsis must be filled in by a linguistic antecedent
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