You are on page 1of 7


Compiled By

: Gloria Christina Siringo-ringo (09120559)

Poibe Valentina Sirait (12120206)
Ramona Sari Sibarani (12120226)
Lorifa Nainggolan (12120235)
Dahlia Madela Manalu (12120238)
Anza Mei Gani
Maria Zega
Niki Sihombing
Gloria Hartani




Pragmatics 1 meaning and context

Recall the definitions of semantics and pragmatics at the beginning of this chapter.
Pragmatics concerns both the relationship between context of use and sentence meaning,
and the relationship among sentence meaning, context of use, and the speakers meaning.
In this section we will focus on those aspects of pragmatics having to do with how the
context of use contributes to semantic meaning.

Indexicality, context-dependency, and anaphora

Indexicals are words whose semantic meanings depend in a direct way on the
context of use. Some simple examples are I, you, here, and now. The pronoun I refers to
the person who says it ( except in cases like direct quotes, where it refers to the person
being quoted ); the word here refers to the place where it is spoken, so forth. Indexicality
is similar to the phenomenon of vagueness, discusses earlier. Recall that adjectives like
old can be vague, in that what counts as old depends on what is being talked about.
what is being talked about is an aspect of context of use. Another term, deixis, is also
cases in which meaning depends on context of use and the terms deixis and indexicality
are often used interchangeably.
Theclassic indexcals ( like I, you, here,and now) are strictly tied to the context
of use; their reference depends solely on the context of use. Other words are more
flexible. They sometimes get their meaning from the context of use, but not always. An
example is she. I could she is cute in a situation in which we are both looking at a baby
girl. In that case, she would refer to this girl by virtue of the context of use. However, the
reference of she can be determined in other ways. In she can get its meaning from the
previous sentence, and in it can get its meaning within the sentence it self from the girl
this class:
a. do you see that baby girl over ther? She is cute.
b. No girl in this classdoubts that she is cute.

When a word of phrase picks up its meaning from same other piece of language nearby,
the relationship between the two is called anaphora. A word which gets its meaning in
this way is anaphor, and the piece of language which gives the anaphor its meaning is its
antecedent. In the antecedent of she is that baby girl over that.
Example illustrates a kind of pragmatic anaphora called discourse anaphora. Discourse
anaphora occurs when the anaphor and antecedent are in different sentences. It only
works with certain antecedent. While the antecedent in allow discourse anaphora, do not :

This baby girl was born on January 1. She is cute.


Maria was born on January1. She is cute


A baby girl lives next door to me. She is cute


No baby girl lives next door to me.?? She is cute


Most baby girls are born with hair.?? She is cute

The first three sentences are acceptable because the antecedents in these cases provide a
reference for the anaphor she. In contrast, no baby girl and most baby girls and dont
provide a reference for she, since they are quantifiers and this is why anphora doesnt
work in these examples.

The sentence John stopped crying at noon only makes sense if it is assumed T John was
crying just before noon. If I say this to you, and you know that John had not been crying
at all, you would feel that what I say is out of place or that youd been misled. We say
that sentence John stopped crying at noon presupposes that John was crying just before
noon. Many words, phrases, and structures create presuppositions. Here are some
examples of sentences followed by their presuppositions ( in parentheses) :
a. Each of the boys in the room is nice. ( there are some boys in the room.)
b. That pig is fat. ( That is a pig)

c. John is crying again. ( John has cried before.)

d. It is Bob who stole the chocolate. ( Somebody stole the chocolate)
Presupposition are not just anything which a speaker happens to take granted.
Presupposition occurs when a speakers choice of words shows that he or she is taking
something for granted. For example, part of the meaning of the word again is that
someone who uses it indicates that he/she is taking for granted that whatever is being
talked about happened before. For this reason, we say that presupposes that John has
cried before.( The speaker of might take other things for granted, such as that you should
comfort people who are crying, but you cant determine this just by looking at itself.
Therefore, we wouldnt say that presupposes, in the linguists sense, that one should
comfort crying people.)
Presupposition are often understood in terms of the notion of the common ground, as
discussed by the philosopher Robert Stalnaker( Stalnaker 1974, 1978). The common
ground is the set of proposition which the participants in a conversation mutually
assumed. ( They dont have to actually believe these propositions, but they at least act as
if they do). In any normal conversation, many things are implicitly in the common ground
that the sun comes up every morning, that the speaker and the hearer are alive, that things
fall down when you release them in the air, and so forth. Other preposition may get into
the common ground because they are explicitly stated. For example, if I say to you I am
hungry ( and you think I am being sincere), henceforth the proposition that Im hungry
will be part of the common ground; that is, we will both assume it to be true ( until
something changes for example, I eat something). The common ground is a major part
of the context of use, and helps us make explicit the role of presupposition in the use of
sentences like John stopped crying at noon : the sentence is only appropriate if the
common ground already contains the information that John was crying just before noon
of if that information can be added without arousing controversy.

In television shows about lawyers add detectives, presupposition is often turned to the
benefit of crafty investigator. Suppose a detective suspects X of committing a murder in
New Jersey, but has no clear evidence that X has traveled there. The detective might
casually ask how was your trip to New Jersey? this sentence presupposes that the
suspect has been there, and so any answer at all with provide the crucial evidence that X
has recently been to New Jersey.

Pragmatic 2 : Meaning and the intention to communicate

Indexicality and presupposition are aspects of pragmatics which mostly have to do with
the relationship between context of use and semantic meaning. In this section, well
investigate the other major subdomain of pragmatics, the relationships among semantics
meaning, context of use, and speakers meaning.

The Gricean view of meaning

Semantics views meaning from the compositional prespective: the meaning of a sentence
is built up from the meanings of its parts. The smallest part get their meaning from the
lexicon, and then these meanings get put together according to rules which pay attention
to the grammatical structure of the sentence. However, not all aspects of meaning can be
explained by this compositional bottom up approach, and a coplementary, top
down view of meaning has focused on the intentions of language users. More precisely,
when a says something to B, A intends for B to be affected in a certain way. If A says its
raining, for example, A may intend for B to believe that its raining (and perhaps to open
an umbrella or come inside). This perspective help us understand many aspects of
speakers meaning.

The idea that meaning is based in the intentions of speakers is most clearly revealed in
H.P.Grices theory of conversational implicature (Grice 1957, 1975). Very often, when
someone says something, he or she doesnt mean exactly what the words literally mean.
That is, the (speakers) meaning differs from the (semantic) meaning. For example, the
semantic meaning of theres a bear sneaking up behind you! doesnt involve the
concepts of warning : it just report the fact. Grice explained how speakers meaning can
be determined in such cases by positing a cooperative Principle that all speakers anf
hearers assume when speaking to each other :
Cooperative Principle : speakers meaning can be calculated on the basis of
semantic meaning and the assumption that speakers are behaving rationally and

Grice broke this general principle into four conversational maxims to explain what
rationallity and cooperativeness are :
The maxim of Quality: make your contribution one that is true rather than false.
The maxim of Quantity : provide the information that is required for the purposes
of the conversation, but no more.
The maxim of Relevance : make your contributions relevant.
The maxim of Manner : be clear and orderly in your talk.
People follow the four maxims when they talk, and this helps us figure out what they
mean. Consider (36), for example :
(36) There are three students in the class : Marry, Bob, and Jill.
A: which students passed the exam?
B: Marry and Bob.
In this conversation, in addition to concluding that Marry and Bob passed the exam, A is
likely to infer that Jill didnt pass the exam, but B knows that A would figure this way,
and so said Marry and Bob with the understanding that A would conclude that Jill
didnt pass. In this way, the idea that Jill didnt pass becomes part of the speakers
meaning of Bs utterance. That is, B uses the Cooperative Principle and maxims to
implicate that Jill didnt pass.
(12) Elvis Presley made a peanut butter sandwich and sat down beside the pool.
This sentence seems to mean that Elvis made the peanut butter sandwich before going to
the pool. This before meaning is not part of the semantic meaning of and (as given by
truth conditions); it is an implicature. According to Grices maxim of Manner, we should
present information in an orderly way, and in most cases that includes mentioning events
in the speakers means to say that Elvis made the sandwich before sitting down by the

Speech acts
Another important figure in the development of pragmatics is John Austin. He pointed
out that when people use language, they are performing a kind of action. He called these
actions Speech acts. Its easy to see the act nature of language when a minister says, i
now pronounce you husband and wife in a wedding ceremony. Based on this sentence
being said by an appropriate person, the enggaged couple becomes a married couple.
Ex :
a. I promise to visit tommorrow.
b. She promised to visit tommorrow.
Example a is known as performative, while example in b is known as constative.
The disticntion between performative and constative may not be as important as the idea
taht all sentences can be used to perform actions of various sorts.

In tryng to understand the various types of acts that sentence may perform, Austin
proposed three levels of speech art :
1. Locutionary acts : grammar internal actions like articulating a certain sound, using
a certain morpheme, referring to a particular person. ( These are the actswhich
fall under phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. They are
usually not of much interest to people studyng pragmatics.
2. Illocutionary acts : actions of communication like assrting a fact, asking a
question, requesting an action, making a promise, or giving a warning.
3. Perlocutionary acts : actions which go beyond communication, like annoying,
frightening, or tricking someone by what you tell them.
For example :
Suppose speaker a says to hearer b
There is a bear sneaking up behind you!
At the locutionary level, a utters the word there and refers to the addresee with the
At the illocutionary level, A asserts a fact ( that there is a bear sneaking up behind B )
At the perlocutionary level, A frightens B and causes B to run away.

Pragmatics summary
Pragmatics is fundamental about how the context of use contributes to meaning, both
semantic meaning and speakers meaning. The core topics of pragmatics are
indexicality, presupposition, implicature, and speech acts.