Pragmatics analyzes language considering the influence of the communicational context, thus extrapolating the vision of Semantics and Syntax. In this article we will provide you the definition of Pragmatics in linguistics.
There are words that seem dormant in the lexicon of a language, but that suddenly wake up and fall into the vocabulary of the speakers. The pragmatic word is a good example and, although it is not common for most users of the Portuguese language, it is increasingly common to hear it in the most varied speeches.
But do you know what Pragmatics is? It is the branch of linguistics that analyzes the concrete use of language by language speakers in its various contexts. Pragmatics extrapolates the meaning given to words by semantics and syntax , observing the extralinguistic context in which they are inscribed; that is, it deals with the observation of speech acts and their cultural and social implications.
Study of language in the context of its use in communication
Domains studied by pragmatics
The context defines the meaning of the message
According to Pragmatics, the meaning of everything is in the usefulness, in the practical effect that speech acts can generate. For her, what really matters is the communication and functioning of language between users, focusing on the inference processes by which we understand what is implicit. Take a look at some examples:
Speaker 1: – Wow, the windows are all open! How cold it is here!
Speaker 2: – Just a moment, I’ll close them.
Although speaker 1 did not expressly request that the windows be closed, speaker 2 inferred, through the analysis of what was said by his interlocutor, that, in order to eliminate the cold, he should close the windows, an implicit intention in speaker 1’s speech.
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Speaker 1: – The room was very dark after the blinds were closed.
Speaker 2: – I’ll open them again.
As you have seen, even if speaker 1 did not formally express that he would like the blinds to be opened, speaker 2 inferred, through the analysis of the communicational context, that, in order to eliminate the darkness of the environment, the blinds should be opened, intended intention implicitly by speaker 1.
According to Pragmatics, the context in which the communication is inscribed is essential for understanding the enunciated statement. Of course, the greater the domain of language, the greater the speaker‘s capacity to understand implicit utterances . In the examples used above, there were requests from two of the speakers, and, as a constitutive rule, the listeners made themselves available to perform what was requested.
Although there are many definitions for the word pragmatic , linguistically, the one that most interests us concerns the study of language from the point of view of its users, analyzing the lexical choices made, the restrictions found in the use of language in certain social interactions, and especially , the effects that the use of language has on other participants in the act of communication. Thus, Pragmatics can be considered the point of convergence between linguistic use and communicative use, proving the intrinsic relationship between language and the communicative situation in which it is being used.