You are on page 1of 10



It is written to fulfill pragmatics assignment Lectured by: Drs. Suparno, M.Pd

Arranged by: Yuniar Khoirunnisa K2206040



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. It studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on the linguistic knowledge (e.g. grammar, lexicon etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, knowledge about the status of those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and so on. In this respect, pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an utterance. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. So an utterance describing pragmatic function is described as metapragmatic. Pragmatic awareness is regarded as one of the most challenging aspects of language learning, and comes only through experience. Pragmatics studies the ways that context affects meaning. The two primary forms of context important to pragmatics are linguistic context and situational context. In applied pragmatics (such as neuro-linguistic programming) for example, meaning is formed through sensory experiences, even though sensory stimulus cannot be easily articulated in language or signs. Pragmatics, then, reveals that meaning is both something affected by and affecting the world. Meaning is something contextual with respect to language and the world, and is also something active toward other meanings and the world. Linguistic context becomes important when looking at particular linguistic problems such as that of pronouns. In most situations, for example, the pronoun him in the sentence "Joe also saw him" has a radically different meaning if preceded by "Jerry said he saw a guy riding an elephant" than it does if preceded by "Jerry saw the bank robber" or "Jerry saw your dog run that way".

Linguistic context is how meaning is understood without relying on intent and assumptions. Situational context would to the extent possible refer to every nonlinguistic factor that affects the meaning of a phrase. Nearly anything can be included in the list, from the time of day to the people involved to the location of the speaker or the temperature of the room. An example of situational context at work is evident in the phrase "it's cold in here", which can either be a simple statement of fact or a request to turn up the heat, depending on, among other things, whether or not it is believed to be in the listener's power to affect the temperature. Speech act Speech act is a technical term in linguistics and the philosophy of language. The contemporary use of the term goes back to John L. Austin's doctrine of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary acts. Many scholars identify 'speech acts' with illocutionary acts, rather than locutionary or perlocutionary acts. As with the notion of illocutionary acts, there are different opinions on the nature of speech acts. The extension of speech acts is commonly taken to include such acts as promising, ordering, greeting, warning, inviting someone and congratulating. Austin made a three fold distinction. It means every single sentence contain three aspect. They are: Locution, Illocution and Perlocution. Locution is the actual word uttered. Illocution is the force or intention behind the words. Perlocution is the effect of the Illocution on the hearer. Typology speech act is classification of Speech Act according to meaning / speaker purpose / speaker intention. Scarle divided Speech Act into: Representative / Assertive Directive

Commisive Expression Declarative There are two types of Speech Act. Direct speech, when the meaning is same with the form of words. Indirect speech, the meaning is not same with the form of words. COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE The cooperative principle can be divided into four maxims, called the Gricean maxims, describing specific rational principles observed by people who obey the cooperative principle; these principles enable effective communication. Maxim of Quantity Give the right amount of information. a. Make your contribution as informative as required b. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. It means dont talk too much. Maxim of Quality Try to make your contribution one that is true a. Do not say what you believed to be false b. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence Maxim of Relevance Be consistent with the topic Maxim of Manner

Be perspicuous a. Avoid obscurity of expression b. Avoid ambiguity c. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity) d. Be orderly

Notes: 1. Maxims apply variably to different contexts. 2. Maxims apply in variable degrees 3. Maxims can conflict with one another 4. Maxims can be contravened

The politeness principle is a series of maxims, which Geoff Leech has proposed as a way of explaining how politeness operates in conversational exchanges. Leech defines politeness as forms of behaviour that establish and maintain comity. That is the ability of participants in a social interaction to engage in interaction in an atmosphere of relative harmony. In stating his maxims Leech uses his own terms for two kinds of illocutionary acts. He calls representatives assertives, and calls directives impositives. Each maxim is accompanied by a sub-maxim (between square brackets), which is of less importance. These support the idea that negative politeness (avoidance of discord) is more important than positive politeness (seeking concord).

Not all of the maxims are equally important. For instance, "Tact" influences what we say more powerfully than does "Generosity", while "Approbation" is more important than "Modesty. Note also that speakers may adhere to more than one maxim of politeness at the same time. Often one maxim is on the forefront of the utterance, with a second maxim being invoked by implication. If politeness is not communicated, we can assume that the politeness attitude is absent.

The Tact maxim The tact maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs which imply cost to other; maximize the expression of beliefs which imply benefit to other.' The first part of this maxim fits in with Brown and Levinson's negative politeness strategy of minimizing the imposition, and the second part reflects the positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer's interests, wants, and needs:

The Generosity maxim Leech's Generosity maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs that express or imply benefit to self; maximize the expression of beliefs that express or imply cost to self.' Unlike the tact maxim, the maxim of generosity focuses on the speaker, and says that others should be put first instead of the self. You relax and let me do the dishes. You must come and have dinner with us. The Approbation maxim The Approbation maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of beliefs which express dispraise of other; maximize the expression of beliefs which

express approval of other.' It is preferred to praise others and if this is impossible, to sidestep the issue, to give some sort of minimal response (possibly through the use of euphemisms), or to remain silent. The first part of the maxim avoids disagreement; the second part intends to make other people feel good by showing solidarity. I heard you singing at the karaoke last night. It was, um... different. Gideon, I know you're a genius - would you know how to solve this math problem here?

The Modesty maxim The Modesty maxim states: 'Minimize the expression of praise of self; maximize the expression of dispraise of self.' Oh, I'm so stupid - I didn't make a note of our lecture! Did you?

The Agreement maxim The Agreement maxim runs as follows: 'Minimize the expression of disagreement between self and other; maximize the expression of agreement between self and other.' It is in line with Brown and Levinson's positive politeness strategies of 'seek agreement' and 'avoid disagreement,' to which they attach great importance. However, it is not being claimed that people totally avoid disagreement. It is simply observed that they are much more direct in expressing agreement, rather than disagreement.

A: I don't want my daughter to do this, I want her to do that. B: Yes, but ma'am, I thought we resolved this already on your last visit.

The Sympathy maxim The sympathy maxim states: 'minimize antipathy between self and other; maximize sympathy between self and other.' This includes a small group of speech acts such as congratulation, commiseration, and expressing condolences all of which is in accordance with Brown and Levinson's positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer's interests, wants, and needs. I am sorry to hear about your father. Face and politeness strategies Face (as in lose face) refers to a speakers sense of linguistic and social identity. Any speech act may impose on this sense, and is therefore face threatening. And speakers have strategies for lessening the threat. Positive politeness means being complimentary and gracious to the addressee (but if this is overdone, the speaker may alienate the other party). Negative politeness is found in ways of mitigating the imposition: Hedging Pessimism Indicating deference Apologizing Impersonalizing

Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson, which was first published in 1978 and then reissued, with a long introduction, in 1987. In their model, politeness is defined as redressive action taken to counter-balance the disruptive effect of face threatening acts (FTAs). In their theory, communication is seen as potentially dangerous and antagonistic. Strength of their approach over that of Geoff Leech is that they explain politeness by deriving it from more fundamental notions of what it is to be a human being. The basic notion of their model is face. This is defined as the public self-image that every member wants to claim for himself. In their framework, face consists of two related aspects.
One is negative face, or the rights to territories, freedom of action and

freedom from imposition - wanting your actions not to be constrained or inhibited by others.
The other is positive face, the positive consistent self-image that people

have and want to be appreciated and approved of by at least some other people. Brown and Levinson sum up human "politeness" behaviour in four strategies, which correspond to these examples: bald on record, negative politeness, positive politeness, and off-record-indirect strategy.
The bald on-record strategy does nothing to minimize threats to

the hearers face

The positive politeness strategy shows you recognize that your

hearer has a desire to be respected. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity.
The negative politeness strategy also recognizes the hearers face.

But it also recognizes that you are in some way imposing on them. Some other examples would be to say, "I don't want to bother you but..." or "I was wondering if..."
Off-record indirect strategies take some of the pressure off of you.

You are trying to avoid the direct FTA of asking for a beer. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once your hearer sees that you want one.


Leech, G.N, 1983: Principles of Pragmatics, Longman Grice, H.P. 1989, Studies in the Way of Words, Harvard University Press Thomas, Jenny. 1995. Meaning in Interaction: an Introduction to Pragmatic, Longman
Austin, J. L.1962, How to Do Things with Words, Oxford University Press

Cutting, J. 2002, Pragmatics and Discourse. London: Routledge. Levinson, S. 1983, Pragmatics, Cambridge University Press Blakemore, D. 1990, Understanding Utterances: The Pragmatics of Natural Language, Oxford: Blackwell.