What is Pragmatic?

Pragmatic is a linguistic term that means “having to do with practical matters.” A person who takes a pragmatic approach is a person who is concerned with reality and is focused on results and consequences. Someone who is a dogmatist, on the other hand, follows a set of strict rules no matter what.

Pragmatists tend to take a matter-of-fact, realistic view of the world and are willing to cut corners to get things done. They may even lie or manipulate people for their own benefit.

Various theories of pragmatics exist. Some of these theories treat pragmatics as a subset of semantics, while others regard it as a distinct discipline that investigates the way in which language functions and how people use it.

One of the most popular models of pragmatics is relevance theory, first proposed by Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson. This model, which is based on Grice’s ideas, explains how meaning is established in conversation by analyzing the ways in which speakers and listeners track syntactic clues. This process is known as managing the flow of reference.

Other scholars, such as Laurence Horn and Gregory Ward, view pragmatics as a separate discipline that does not always overlap with linguistic semantics (the literal meaning of a word) or syntax or semiotics. They also argue that the study of pragmatics should be viewed as a “third major branch” of the discipline of linguistics, along with semantics and syntax.

In general, scholars who are interested in pragmatics usually focus on the relationship between language and its users. These scholars may also look at the effect that context has on the use of language and how a speaker’s intentions influence the ways in which a listener understands an utterance.

The word pragmatic can also refer to a philosophy. A pragmatic philosopher is a person who is interested in what works and is not concerned with philosophical arguments. Pragmatic philosophy is often a compromise between extremes, such as the idealism of Rousseau and the realism of Hume.

In everyday usage, the term pragmatic is most often applied to people and their actions. A person who takes a pragmatic approach to problems is considered sensible and reasonable. Someone who is not a pragmatic person is considered to be stuck in the past or unwilling to change with the times. Pragmatic can also be used to describe a kind of speech or behavior, such as a politician’s style of debate. A political debate in which the participants refuse to agree on anything is not a very pragmatic event. Similarly, a politician who ignores his constituents and only concerns himself with the national interest is not being very pragmatic.