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Questions tagged [pragmatics]

Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning.

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Pragmatics Wastebasket

While going through a course book on pragmatics, I came across this novel and seemingly interesting concept. I was intrigued to know what a wastebasket has to doin pragmatics, but it is still an ...
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Is pragmatics a waste basket?

Is pragmatics a waste basket? this sentence is abstracted from the study of language of Yule. I want to know why this statement comes into being( pragmatics is a waste basket.) And is it really true? ...
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What calls the phenomenon that the sounds of two synonyms mix together and form an expression with the same meaning?

Is it a worldwide phenomenon found in many languages? I give an example here. I have heard several times in spoken Chinese that people say [t͡ʃaʊ̯˥˩] with the meaning "gotten/found". This is a ...
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Why did Grice claim that the implicature is not “a part of what is said”?

Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication (2017 7 ed). p. 386 Middle. Please see paragraph signaled by the two arrows. Why did Grice claim that the implicature is not “a part ...
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How can communication can be direct and nonliteral?

Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication (2017 7 ed). p. 370 Bottom. Strategies for Indirect Communication We can now supplement the existing direct strategies with strategies ...
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Different ways to interpret stressed words in a sentence

I'm reading an introductory book on syntax and one of the exercises says to discuss the interpretations which the italicized expression can have in the given sentences and to give an appropriate ...
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Difference between sociolinguistics and pragmatics

I have been doing some intense research on sociolinguistics and pragmatics and am becoming more and more confused as to what the distinction between them is. If someone could describe both concepts ...
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The literal/figurative distinction and its test

I am wondering if there is technical definition of the literal/figurative distinction in semantic theories (I have only found definitions by examples or definitions that simply repeat the dictionary ...
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Problems of adding ToBI Manual command on Praat

I have tried more than 20 times of adding a command on Praat, but it still doesn't work. Just shows like the following picture! Tried to edit the directory but also failed! Don't know why! Is there ...
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How is a meaningful sentence or paragraph constructed?

I don't have a formal background of linguistics, but I'd like to know how a sentence or paragraph becomes meaningful to a reader, and how one can construct that. I think it falls to the areas of ...
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Why is it usually not ambiguous to nominalize a verb, but it is to verbalize a noun? [closed]

As in "eat > eating", the meaning of the generated word would not make confusion, but if I make a word formation like "lamp(N) > *lamp(V)", it doesn't make sense, unless the generated word is ...
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Why is it often the “large” one between the two words for a polar dimension that is marked?

When we talk about a dimension neutrally, we usually say: "How large is it?" "How long is it?" "How many did you buy?" "How tall is the cup?" "How heavy is the box?" rather than "small, short, few, ...
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Semantic vs Pragmatic [duplicate]

I am revising for my NLP quiz and am getting confused at the difference between semantic and pragmatic. I studied that semantic is the study of words and their meaning in sentences while pragmatic ...
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How do I tell/illustrate the difference between different meanings of 'adumbrate'?

Adumbrate can mean foreshadow or overshadow. In the following sentence, how does the reader know what the writer meant? The strife in Bloody Kansas in the 1850s adumbrated the civil war that would ...
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How does a field linguist record rare, unknown features of an undocumented language? Is it likely for him/her to miss the details?

A field linguists is most likely an adult, after all. We all know that babies are capable of hearing the specific sounds in natural languages. As a person grows up, however, he/she starts to lose the ...
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Description of various placements of PPs in a syntax tree

How would you describe the difference in modifications a PP can make to a VP i.e. [I want to visit them][before this time] versus [I want to [visit them before this time]] I understand there is ...
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Formalization and representation of semantic and pragmatic knowledge? [closed]

Are there efforts to formalize and formally represent (e.g. as semantic network, as some kind of logic) of semantic of pragmatic knowledge. It is known, that every speaker/listener has two types of ...
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To what extent does this image accurately express the modularity of linguistic units?

This is a popular image floating around the internet, but like many things floating there, it seems like a gross simplification and just plain inaccurate. However, I’m more of an armchair linguist ...
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Terminology for a phrase that changes meaning over time within a closed community

I am looking for the linguistic terminology for the phenomenon of semantic change in a discourse within a closed community. This closed community could be a couple, a company etc. For example, ...
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Can a term be both deictic and cataphoric?

In a sentence like "Will you, Maria?" where there is cataphora, can you be both deictic and cataphoric? In general, can a term be both anaphoric and deictic?
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Silence, Listening, Body Language, Miscommunication

Do linguists study silence, listening, and/or body language as types of communication? Also, do they study miscommunication in general? If so, what type of sub fields of linguistics would these topics ...
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Is there a term generalizing a pragmatics utterance and a body or facial gesture?

What is called in pragmatics an utterance, and what is called a body gesture or a facial gesture, are all acts of communication. Is there any term in any context or discipline, that unites these ...
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What is the meaning difference between have+V versus bare V?

In some dialects of English, there seems to be a clear(er) difference between past tense verbs with the auxiliary have as in “I have eaten the pie”, and those without, as in “I ate the pie”. The only ...
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Can an indefinite article trigger a presupposition?

One presupposition trigger is the definite article. Can an indefinite article trigger a presupposition?
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Is there a meaning difference between “each” and “every” as NP modifier?

I have an ineffable feeling that there is a pragmatic difference between "each N" and "every N", which has to do with evaluating the individuals denoted by "each N" one at a time, vs. evaluating them ...
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Why is “then” deictic?

Then is mentioned as deictic in many papers but I couldn't find a sufficient explanation for that. Every example I could think of involves then acting as anaphora, but how decctic? If I say: I am ...
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Subdivision of Implicatures and Distinction between Semantics and Pragmatics [duplicate]

I believe the traditional Gricean view is that anything that can't be expressed in truth-conditions is pragmatics rather than semantics. I also know that there's the view excluding conventional ...
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What is the difference between implicature and entailment?

When talking about pragmatics what is the difference between implicature and entailment? PS. The book I was reading was Pragmatics by George Yule
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Conversational Implicature vs. Ambiguity

This book suggests the cancellability test for distinguishing the logical consequence from conversational implicature of an assertion. Examples 1a. You can have either soup or salad. 1b. You cannot ...
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“The bat broke the window” - double meaning in The Stuff of Thought

Some background: In Steven Pinker's book The Stuff of Thought, he critiques Radical Pragmatics (ch 3). In one instance, on pages 121-122, he describes a computer simulation of Radical Pragmatics by ...
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What are different types of signs? [closed]

I've read somewhere that there are different types of signs like: natural signs (smoke as a sign of fire), arbitrary signs (language signs) etc. Could someone provide me with a complete list and ...
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What is the difference between Semantics and Pragmatics? [duplicate]

I had a class today in an introductory linguistics course and some of the concepts are not clear to me. First, what is the difference between semantics and pragmatics. For example: A: "Did you ...
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Origin of Buchowski's paradox

According to Wolfram Math World, Buchowski's paradox concerns the use of comparative adjectives in apparently paradoxical statements such as "My younger brother is older than me" (possible if the ...
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Does pragmatics cut down or add to the stock of interpretations generated by the semantics?

This is a question similar to the question about the semantics/pragmatics divide, but I have a more specific interest. I'm thinking of two different ways of conceiving of the way statements come to ...
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1answer
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Does “I don't drink.” mean “I don't drink alcohol.” in all languages? [duplicate]

In those languages I'm a bit familiar with, the verb for drinking is very often understood as drinking alcohol, especially if its meaning "the oral intake of any fluid", wouldn't make sense. For ...
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A question about pragmatics

I wonder if anybody here is a pragmatics expert because my question relates to this. I'm learning about Paul Grice's conversational maxims (quality, quantity, relation and manner) and I have a ...
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1answer
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Are there instances in which an entire sentence constitutes a focus--new information?

Are there instances in which an entire sentence constitutes a focus--new information? Consider the following scenario: Three people are talking together about a mutual friend who is in the ...
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Which parts of natural language cannot be covered ( so far ) by formal semantics?

my question regards a homework a have to write and since I am not a linguist I have kind of a hard time with it. We have on the one side natural languages with its redundancy, ambiguity, speech acts,...
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Abbot & Costello “Who's on First” with a pragmatic (or other linguistic) perspective? [closed]

I'm in my first year of the Master's study in applied linguistics, and I'm trying to come up with my research question, which will form the basis of my thesis topic. I've found the famous routine by ...
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Can the entropy per word be caculated precisely?And relation among information theory, semantics, and pragmatics

What we have gotten about the expected per word entropy of random yet grammatical text is just some upper bound of the the expected per word entropy, because we have not found the exact way to compute ...
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Is there a good introduction to subjectivity in language?

Since the topic of "subjectivity in language" is all new to me, I am looking for an introduction to the topic that 1) gives an overview of the phenomena usually associated with the topic (...
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How to annotate a corpus of written discourse for pragmatic analysis (speech acts)?

I am currently creating a small-ish corpus of online conversations that I wish to analyze quantitatively and qualitatively from a pragmatic perspective (speech acts level mainly). The problem is that ...
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What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words?

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words? I haven't been able to find an answer in my online linguistics sources such as the SIL Glossary of Linguistics Terms. The only ...
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1answer
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Examples of tags?

I'm planning to do a study on tag-switching, but from the literature I read, tag-switching is commonly only found in sentences with 'you know', 'I mean', 'right?', and 'isn't it?'. Are there other ...
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recent topics in linguistics [closed]

what are the recent controversial issues in - pragmatics. -socio-linguistics. that are receiving the experts' attention ?
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Difference between discourse analysis and pragmatics

Could you explain for me what is the main difference between pragmatics in linguistics and discourse analysis? Both are related to study of use of language in real world.
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Analysis of Evidentials

If I analyse evidential devices, is it lexical or propositional level of analysis? I would say it is propositional level, because, for instance, modal verbs being taken out of context may have ...
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Is 'It' anaphoric or cataphoric, and what is its antecedent/postcedent?

Question 1a: What does 'It' refer to in the following sentence: It was clearly in the mood to place acknowledgements at the bottom of questions. The context for the above sentence is provided in ...
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What range of strategies are common in natural languages for providing unambiguous answers to negative yes-no questions?

I have been told that, in Chinese, terms for "yes" and "no" used as answers for questions are not needed because one answers yes-no questions by either repeating the verb in the question or adding a ...
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What is the difference between “Topic” and “Focus”

What is the difference between grammatical categories "Topic" and "Focus"? They are both optional, and they succeed "Force" and they both seem to stress a part of text. Rizzi places them in the ...