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Pragmatics as an approach of speech study

Coordinating, subordinating connection of sentences

Coordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make compound sentences. The coordinating conjunctions are as follows: and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. You can use coordinating conjunctions to revise run-on sentences and comma splices (see above). You can also use coordinating conjunctions to make writing less choppy by joining short, simple sentences. Consider the following examples.

Independent Clauses: I wanted more popcorn. Sam wanted Junior Mints.

Joined Together: I wanted more popcorn, but Sam wanted Junior Mints.


In this example, it is necessary to put a comma before the coordinating conjunction but because there are two independent clauses being combined. Another way to think of this is that I wanted more popcorn and Sam wanted Junior Mints could stand on their own as independent sentences. So, there must be a comma and a conjunction between them.

Independent Clauses: I wanted more popcorn. I didn’t want any more soda.

Joined Together: I wanted more popcorn but no soda.


In this example, we’ve combined the sentences with the coordinating conjunction but. We’ve also eliminated some of the words so that the sentence wouldn’t sound redundant. In this case, it isn’t necessary to put a comma before but because there are not two independent clauses joined together.


Subordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make complex sentences. The subordinating conjunctions are as follows: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while.


You can use subordinating conjunctions to correct run-on sentences and comma splices. And you can use them to combine sentences so that writing is less choppy. Consider the following examples.

Complex Sentence: I wanted to get more soda because it’s hard to eat popcorn without it.


In this sentence, the subordinate clause is at the end. It would also be correct to place the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence:


Because it’s hard to eat popcorn without it, I wanted to get more soda.


Notice that when the subordinate clause comes at the beginning, it’s necessary to insert a comma.

Complex Sentence: While I was getting more soda and popcorn, I missed a really important part of the movie. (Subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence).

I missed a really important part of the movie while I was getting more soda and popcorn. (Subordinate clause at the end of the sentence).


Asyndetic connection

"asyndetic" (connections made without conjoins).

The coordinate clauses can be combined asyndetically (by the zero coordinator), e.g.: The quarrel was over, the friendship was resumed.

Semantic types of complex sentences

Noun clauses

(1) Subject: "Whatever gets thruogh to me is carefully sanitised."

(2) Object of a verb, verbal, or the equivalent of a verb:

(a) “Here is what I actually say.

(3) Complement: "The terms of admission to this spectacle are, that he have a certain solid and intelligible way of living."

(4) Apposition.

(a) Ordinary apposition, explanatory of some noun or its equivalent: "Cecil's saying of Sir Walter Raleigh, ' I know that he can toil terribly,' is an electric touch."

(b) After "it introductory“: "It was the opinion of some, that this might be the wild huntsman famous in German legend."

(5) Object of a preposition: "At length he reached to where the ravine had opened through the cliffs

2)Adjective / relative clauses ((non)defining)

introduced by the relative pronouns who, which, that, but, as;

by the conjunctions when, where, whither, whence, wherein, whereby, etc.

asyndetically, a relative pronoun being understood.

Adjective clauses may modify-

(1) The subject: "Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to form an unfavorable opinion of his social character."

(2) The object: “I saw a most unpleasant Irish doctor [S1 who thought] [S2 he was God’s gift to women]]."

(3) The complement: "The only place I could go to was Aberdeen.” (CVS)

(4) Other words: “"Charity covereth a multitude of sins, in another sense than that in which it is said to do so in Scripture

3) Adverb clauses

(1) TIME: when, after, as, as soon as, before, by the time (that), once, since, until / till, while

(2) PLACE: where, wherever, anywhere, everywhere

(3) REASON, or CAUSE: because, as, seeing that, since

(4) MANNER: as, like, (in) the way (that), (in) the same way, as if, as though

(5) DEGREE, or COMPARISON: as…as,

(6) PURPOSE: so that, in order to /that, in case

7) RESULT, or CONSEQUENCE: so that, such that

(8) CONDITION: if, if not, unless

(9) CONCESSION: though, although, while; indefinite relatives, adverbs, and adverbial conjunctions,- whoever, whatever, however

Pragmatics as an approach of speech study

· Pragmatics is concerned with bridging the explanatory gap between sentence meaning and speaker's meaning.

· Pragmatics is all about use.

to describe pragmatics, one must describe semantics, and to describe semantics one must describe syntax:

syntax semantics pragmatics

Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics and anthropology. Unlike semantics, which examines meaning that is conventional or "coded" in a given language, pragmatics studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge (e.g., grammar, lexicon, etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, any preexisting knowledge about those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and other factors

1) John Austin’s “How To Do Things With Words"

“How to Do Things With Words" is Austin's most influential work, in which he attacks what was at his time a predominant account in philosophy, the view that the chief business of sentences is to state facts, and thus to be true or false based on the truth or falsity of those facts. The truth-evaluable sentences form only a small part of the range of utterances.

How to Do Things With Words is perhaps Austin's most influential work. In contrast to this positivist view, he argues, sentences with truth-values form only a small part of the range of utterances.

After introducing several kinds of sentences which he asserts are neither true nor false, he turns in particular to one of these kinds of sentences, which he calls performative utterances or just "performatives". These he characterises by two features:

Again, though they may take the form of a typical indicative sentence, performative sentences are not used to describe (or "constate") and are thus not true or false; they have no truth-value.

Second, to utter one of these sentences in appropriate circumstances is not just to "say" something, but rather to perform a certain kind of action.[5]

He goes on to say that when something goes wrong in connection with a performative utterance it is, as he puts it, "infelicitous", or "unhappy" rather than false.[6][7]

The action which is performed when a 'performative utterance' is issued belongs to what Austin later calls a speech-act [8] (more particularly, the kind of action Austin has in mind is what he subsequently terms the illocutionary act). For example, if you say "I name this ship the Queen Elizabeth," and the circumstances are appropriate in certain ways, then you will have done something special, namely, you will have performed the act of naming the ship. Other examples include: "I take this man as my lawfully wedded husband," used in the course of a marriage ceremony, or "I bequeath this watch to my brother," as occurring in a will. In all three cases the sentence is not being used to describe or state what one is 'doing', but being used to actually 'do' it.

After numerous attempts to find more characteristics of performatives, and after having met with many difficulties, Austin makes what he calls a "fresh start", in which he considers "more generally the senses in which to say something may be to do something, or in saying something we do something".

For example: John Smith turns to Sue Snub and says ‘Is Jeff’s shirt red?’, to which Sue replies ‘Yes’. John has produced a series of bodily movements which result in the production of a certain sound. Austin called such a performance a phonetic act, and called the act a phone. John’s utterance also conforms to the lexical and grammatical conventions of English—that is, John has produced an English sentence. Austin called this a phatic act, and labels such utterances phemes. John also referred to Jeff’s shirt, and to the colour red.To use a pheme with a more or less definite sense and reference is to utter a rheme, and to perform a rhetic act. Note that rhemes are a sub-class of phemes, which in turn are a sub-class of phones. One cannot perform a rheme without also performing a pheme and a phone. The performance of these three acts is the performance of a locution—it is the act of saying something.

John has therefore performed a locutionary act. He has also done at least two other things. He has asked a question, and he has elicited an answer from Sue.

Asking a question is an example of what Austin called an illocutionary act. Other examples would be making an assertion, giving an order, and promising to do something. To perform an illocutionary act is to use a locution with a certain force. It is an act performed in saying something, in contrast with a locution, the act of saying something.

Eliciting an answer is an example of what Austin calls a perlocutionary act, an act performed by saying something. Notice that if one successfully performs a perlocution, one also succeeds in performing both an illocution and a locution.

In the theory of speech acts, attention has especially focused on the illocutionary act, much less on the locutionary and perlocutionary act, and only rarely on the subdivision of the locution into phone, pheme and rheme.

How to Do Things With Words is based on lectures given at Oxford between 1951 and 1954, and then at Harvard in 1955.


2) John Searle’s contribution into pragmalinguistics.

Professor of Philosophy at the, University of California, Berkeley

Is noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and consciousness, on the characteristics of socially constructed versus physical realities, and on practical reason.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1860

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