Pragmatic studies are concerned with the practical features of human thought and action. They examine the implications of the literal meaning of an utterance and look for implied meanings. This study looks at language as a tool for communication, and the ways in which a speaker and listener negotiate its meaning. Hence, it is essential to understand how people use language. Without pragmatics, there would be little understanding of the meaning of language.
This philosophy focuses on examining practical issues in language. It identifies the factors that affect the meaning of words and how people use them. This approach helps a person choose the best means to communicate with another person. For example, a person might try to convince another to go to a particular venue, but may be turned down because they aren’t familiar with the location. The person is pragmatic about the reason for his/her choice.
The pragmatic approach seeks to answer the question of how words and actions relate to one another. Rather than focusing on the content of a statement, a pragmatic person analyzes its context to make a decision. Instead of focusing on the meaning of the word, the practical approach takes the time to consider what the speaker is trying to say. Similarly, a pragmatic approach is based on reference and action, and it seeks to avoid common pitfalls.
In this view, pragmatics aims to answer the question of whether words and action are connected. By comparing and contrasting two types of language, a practical person can judge the meaning of a specific phrase. This is not always a problem. It simply requires that the speaker’s meaning be clear. Consequently, pragmatics tries to answer this question. However, in most cases, the speaker should be able to make the decision based on how the word was used and what the listener meant.
This book focuses on pragmatics as a method of research. It is based on the principle of discovering the most suitable method and not on the debate of which method is better. While a pragmatic approach is not centered on arguments of which research method is more appropriate, it does acknowledge the limitations and strengths of each research method. This approach can also be described as a synthesis of positivist and classical empiricism.
The definition of pragmatics includes the context of a situation. Hence, a pragmatic approach focuses on the practical nature of a situation. For example, the pragmatic person deals with a difficult situation by considering it from different perspectives. A pragmatic person also considers other factors in the situation, including context. It is often said that the latter argues that a certain action or a state of mind is more important than a particular action.