Pragmatics Case Study

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1.1. Defining Pragmatics Pragmatics has various definitions, but they all revolve around the main idea that pragmatics is “the study of language in use” (Verschueren, 1999, 1). The oldest definition of pragmatics is as “the relation of signs to their users.”(Morris (1938) cited in Akmajian, Demers, Farmer & Harnish, 2001, 361). Pragmatics also focuses on “how people create meaningful communication”, or, “meaning in interaction” (Thomas, 1995, 62). David Crystal (1997) states that “Pragmatics studies the factors that govern our choice of language in social interaction and the effects of our choice on others” (Crystal, 1997, 120, cited in Rose Kasper, 2001, 2) Leech (1983) argues that “pragmatics is the study of meaning…show more content…
Pragmatic Competence It is clear from the previous section on communicative competence that models of communicative competence consist of two components. Linguistic or grammatical competence is considered a significant part of learners’ competence. Widdowson (1978) states that “although students learn the rules of linguistic usage, they are often unable to use the language in context” (Widdowson, 1978, 3). The other important component of learners’ competence is related to language use in context which is termed pragmatic competence. Pragmatic competence has been defined by many scholars. It is defined by Chomsky (1980) as the “knowledge of conditions and manner of appropriate use of the language, in conformity with various purposes” (Chomsky, 1980, 224). Bachman (1990) distinguishes pragmatic competence into illocutionary and sociolinguistic competences. He defines illocutionary competence as “knowledge of the pragmatic conventions for performing acceptable language functions”. Sociolinguistic competence is defined as “knowledge of the sociolinguistic conventions for performing language functions appropriately in a given context” (Bachman, 1990,…show more content…
According to Bialystok (1993), pragmatic competence involves three components. The first component is the ability of the speaker to use language for different purposes. The second component is the listener’s ability to get the language and understand the speaker’s real intentions. The third component is the command of the rules by which utterances integrate together to create discourse (Bialystok, 1993, 52). Active communication, then, can only occur when the message transmitted by the speaker is interpreted and comprehended appropriately by the hearer (Savignon, 1993,

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