What is Pragmatics?

Pragmatics is a field of study that examines how people communicate and produce meaning through language. It is a subfield of linguistics and was founded by psychologist Charles Morris in the 1930s. It is a field that examines the social context in which language is used, how people understand and produce language, and the various ways that language is interpreted by others.

The word pragmatic is derived from the Latin verb praga, which means to use in a manner that is practical or useful. It also means to use words that are based on facts rather than purely philosophical ideals.

A pragmatist is someone who is focused on the facts and doesn’t let emotions or feelings influence them. They’re generally a straightforward person and don’t take many risks because they want to get results.

Semantic information refers to linguistic features of a sentence, such as the words and phrases that make up a complete thought or proposition. However, this information is not always relevant to the hearer’s understanding of the utterance.

For example, a mother might understand her daughter’s explanation that “eating cookies can make you gain weight” as “my daughter says she is fat.” This is because the words in the sentence are interpreted by the mother based on her own social context.

Another example is when a person makes a presupposition about another person’s intentions in a conversation and uses the term “how are you?” to convey an implied greeting rather than a literal answer. This is called making a pragmatic judgment and it is different from using the term “fine” in response to this question because it is an implied greeting and not a literal statement about how a person is feeling at that moment.

In addition to a general theoretical approach, a field of empirical research in pragmatics has developed over the years that attempts to understand how people actually use language in their everyday lives. This is often conducted in the form of experiments. These studies can involve observing how people respond to a certain situation, asking them to explain what they mean, or watching how people respond to different types of stimuli.