Pragmatics And Halliday

Topics: Pragmatics, Philosophy of language, Illocutionary act Pages: 7 (373 words) Published: April 1, 2015
PRAGMATICS
What is the underlying message?

SPEECH ACT THEORY


Context: A married couple are at home. The
phone rings... The wife calls out….
Perlocution

Locution

Illocution

(literal sense)

(implied meaning)

(perceived
meaning)

‘I’m in the
bath.’

You get the
phone.

I’ll have to
get the
phone.

PRAGMATIC DEVELOPMENT

3
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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY
PRAGMATICS?
Pragmatics is an area of language study linked to the
things people mean rather than what they actually say.

Pragmatics refers to:

implicature  expressing meaning
indirectly

inference  what someone thinks you are
saying

humour
4

politeness

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HOW CAN PRAGMATICS BE DIFFICULT?
Why would these statements be difficult for a child?

A woman asks where the post office is and is told in
reply, “It’s a Sunday.”
A student says to her friend: “Mmmm, nice jacket.
Are there lots of charity shops in Peckham?”
A father says to his daughter, who has just dropped
his mobile phone in the paddling pool, “Thanks
very much, that makes life a lot easier.”

5
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THE FUNCTIONS OF CHILDREN’S
EARLY LANGUAGE
The linguist Michael Halliday broke down children’s early
language functions into what he termed a ‘taxonomy language’  Instrumental  expresses needs (e.g. ‘Want juice’)  Regulatory  used to tell others what to do (e.g. ‘Go away’)  Interactional  used to make contact with others and form relationships (e.g. ‘Love you, mummy’)

 Personal  used to express feelings, opinions and individual identity (e.g. ‘Me good girl’)
 Heuristic  Language used to gain knowledge about the
environment (i.e. ‘What the tractor doing?’)
 Imaginative  Here language is used to tell stories and jokes, and to create an imaginary environment.
 Representational  Use of language to convey facts and information
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Which of Halliday’s functions might
be at work in each utterance?

1

‘Put me down!’ whilst talking to father who has lifted

2

‘Biscuit!’ whilst pointing at a biscuit tin.

3

‘Why, daddy?’ whilst asking why the biscuits have gone.

4

‘I walking’; giving commentary, and therefore showing

5

‘Look at me, I’m a fairy.’ whilst dressing up in clothes

her up.

she doesn’t need help.

and drawing attention to the game she is playing.

7
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