Communication is a
building stone of society. To communicate means to transmit information between
two or more persons, either verbal or non-verbal. It is expressing an idea in
such way that the receiver of a message understands what you are saying.
context is all the (verbal or non-verbal) information and associations around
something that help you understand an utterance. Without context, it is
impossible to understand words. In its literal meaning, context is the words
that come before or after a concept in a phrase.
Deictics are words
that can only be comprehended if the hearer knows the situation or the context
in which the deictic word is uttered. For instance, ‘there’ can only be
comprehended if the hearer knows where the speaker is standing.
Social distance is
one of the three factors which indicates the weight of a speech act. Distance
is the degree of how well two interlocutors know each other. The higher the
distance, the greater the impact of the speech act. For example, the social
distance between a mother and daughter is very low.
stands in contrast with an implicature: the explicature of an utterance is all
what is said explicitly, without any meaning hidden behind the utterance. There
can be no confusion about the explicature, as there is no possibility to
interpret in multiple ways the things that are said explicitly.
The concept ‘Face’
was constructed by Brown and Levinson and implies that both the speaker and
hearer have an image of themselves that they want to keep intact and preserve
during interaction. The positive face wants to be in-group, whilst the negative
face wants to maintain its independency.
Acs (FTA’s) is a concept elaborated by Brown and Levinson. It establishes that
every speech act imposes a threat on either the positive or the negative face
of the hearer and the speaker. It is almost impossible to keep a face intact,
interacting with each other always implies intruding one’s face.
The illocution of
an utterance is the meaning behind the utterance itself (the locution). The
illocution and the locution not necessarily need to be the same, there can be
multiple locutions to one illocution. For example, an utterance may have the locution
of a question (Can you close the window?), but can have the illocution of an
order (Close the window).
Grice, the implicature of an utterance is the hidden message behind the
words that are spoken out. The
implicature is the information in a message that is left without saying and
that the speaker considers as known by the hearer, of that the hearer can infer
from the message from the speaker.
deducting the real meaning behind an utterance by using the context. Not only
the utterance itself of the speaker provides information for the hearer, but
also the information, context and knowledge the hearer already has. The
significance of something is not only in what is said, but also in what is not
The locution of an
utterance is the form in which it occurs. It are simply the words that were
spoken out by the speaker and their literal meaning. Context is needed to
understand the real meaning of the locution, which is the illocution.
12. Performative verbs
are verbs whose meanings are accomplished by speaking out the verbs themselves.
By speaking out the verb, the speaker accomplishes the speech act that
describes the verb. For example, by speaking out ‘I now declare you’, the
speaker accomplishes the speech act of ‘to declare’, which is declaring.
The perlocution is
the effect the speaker wants to create on the hearer with his/her utterance.
The perlocutionary act can be divided into the perlocutionary act, which is the
effect wanted by the speaker, and in the perlocutionary effect, which is the
actual effect on the hearer after the utterance.
elaborated by Brown and Levinson. Politeness has nothing to do with courtesy:
it means adapting your message in such way that it is adequate to the pragmatic
situation in which the message occurs. It has a social-psychological dimension
because we use politeness to build a social relationship with others.
The difference of
power is one of the three factors which indicates the weight of a speech act.
If one interlocutor (the hearer) has more hierarchic power than the speaker,
the speech act will have a greater impact on their relationship. The notion of
power can be very different between cultures.
16. Pragmatic failure
failure is a cross-cultural misunderstanding. When a non-native speaker applies
a foreign language using the pragmatic conveniences of their native language,
this can cause misunderstandings between two interlocutors. The hearer is then
not able to interpret the utterance of the speaker because the speaker lacks
pragmatic conveniences in the L2.
Pragmatics is the
linguistic study field which focuses on the relationship between language and
the context. People do utterances to achieve a certain goal, interacting with
one another and calculating what effect their utterances will have. Pragmatics
describe the way in which something is said.
Founded by Grice,
the Principle of Cooperation states that two people will always work together
to achieve an understandable interaction. The principle is elaborated into four
maxims: quality, quantity, relevance and mode. In short, what you say has to be
clear and has to contribute to the conversation.
Ranking is one of
the three factors that indicates the weight of a speech act. A speech act can
be highly ranked if the imposition of the question is high. For example,
someone asking for some milk is less imposing than someone asking for five
A speech act is an
act that occurs because the speaker has a certain goal in mind with his
utterance. Speech acts are intentional and link the utterance and the action,
according to John Searle. Speech acts can be classified as assertive,
directive, commisive, expressive and declarative.