Several different aspects of pragmatics are covered in this lecture. They include speech acts, rhetorical structure, conversational implicature, management of reference in discourse, and pragmatics of oral language.
Pragmatics of oral language is a term that refers to the socially constructed rules that guide the behavior of individuals when speaking. These rules include things like the appropriateness of gestures, body language, and personal space. These rules are inherent in social situations, and even children learn them from their caregivers. These rules are important to a person’s conversational skills. Practicing reoccurring social situations can help an individual to learn the skills required to communicate effectively.
One of the most interesting aspects of pragmatics is the way constraints interact. For instance, a person who is attempting to communicate about something involving a new car may have to leave the speaker in order to convey the message accurately. This can be influenced by silence, the presence of a speaker’s hands, and other nonverbal signals. The way in which these constraints interact can also lead to different meanings of a communicative act.
In a similar vein, a person who is trying to convey information may use inappropriate eye contact, inappropriate gestures, or unorganized stories. This kind of behavior may indicate that an individual is lacking the necessary pragmatic skills to effectively communicate. An individual may also mention unrelated topics during a conversation, or may mention topics that do not have a direct relationship to the subject matter. This can be an indicator of a person’s misunderstanding of social situations or the way in which he or she is interacting with others.
Some of the most common examples of pragmatic skills include following social norms, staying on topic, and speaking at an appropriate volume. These skills are generally formed during adolescence. They can also be developed during adulthood, although they are not limited to this age group.
A person may be able to tell an accurate story about the subject of a conversation if he or she learns how to effectively perform communicative acts. These acts include the following: a simple greeting, a complex sequence of words, or a complex sequence of words and nonverbal signals. These communicative acts are essential to a person’s ability to accurately convey information.
The term ampliative inference is used in pragmatics to describe the way in which a person infers things beyond the basic facts. It may be a Bayesian inference, an inductive inference, or an ad hoc inference. In other words, ampliative inference is a special application of general principles that are specific to communication.
Pragmatics also considers the relationship between the meaning of a word and the context in which it is used. This is the first level of speaking meaning. It includes sentence context pairing and the meaning of the speaker’s tone of voice. A person who is attempting to convey an idea may want to use a word to apply to himself or herself. He or she may also want to use a word to communicate the idea to a particular person.