In this post something about how we use language to communicate. To many people a language is its system of rules, but it is far more useful to look at how language works, how users take this system of rules and put it to use. This post is about how language rules can tell us very little, if anything, about how we produce and convey meaning in our exchanges. Making sense, no matter at which end (speaker’s or hearer’s) is an active process that involves both actors concerned. The same language chunks can be used with various communicative intentions and can signal hidden, implicit meanings. How do speakers pack their personal meanings behind standard language blocks, but most of all, how do hearers manage to decode such meanings, despite ambiguity? Pragmatics undertakes to investigate precisely that.
Pragmatics is a modern view of language and has generated several sub-branches and strands which focus on various aspects of the social use of language. Discourse analysis, genre analysis, sociolinguistics, politeness theory, conversation analysis, code switching are only a few of these pragmatics children.
Hope you enjoy the show.