Bi n Thu H
Why do we say speech acts are the back bone of pragmatics?
First of all, to understand about Speech acts, let us consider what pragmatics is.
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 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. 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 deals with
, by which
we will mean specific events, the intentional acts of speakers at times and places,
typically involving language. Logic and semantics traditionally deal with properties of
of expressions, and not with properties that differ from token to token, or use to use,
or, as we shall say, from utterance to utterance, and vary with the particular properties
that differentiate them. Pragmatics is sometimes characterized as dealing with the effects
. This is equivalent to saying it deals with utterances, if one collectively refers
to all the facts that can vary from utterance to utterance as ‘context.’ One must be careful,
however, for the term is often used with more limited meanings. Although pragmatics is a
relatively new branch of linguistics, research on it can be dated back to ancient Greece
and Rome where the term pragmaticus’ is found in late Latin and pragmaticos’ in Greek,
both meaning of being practical’. Modern use and current practice of pragmatics is
credited to the influence of the American philosophical doctrine of pragmatism. The
pragmatic interpretation of semiotics and verbal communication studies in Foundations of
the Theory of Signs by Charles Morris (1938), for instance, helped neatly expound the
differences of mainstream enterprises in semiotics and linguistics. For Morris, pragmatics