LING3004 Pragmatics: Meaning in Use

6 points
Not available in 2019UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Linguistics major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit is an introduction to important concepts in pragmatics, the branch of linguistics dedicated to the study of meaning in context, and is concerned with explaining how speakers cooperate in discourse, how they draw inferences from other speakers' utterances, and how linguistic and non-linguistic contexts play a role in our interpretation of utterances. When we use language, the meaning we convey is contributed to a range of factors. Semantics is chiefly concerned with literal meaning, and describes the relations between words and expressions to the real world. Pragmatics on the other hand concentrates on aspects of meaning that cannot be predicted solely from linguistic knowledge, and thus also takes into account our knowledge of the world and of social situations. The study of speakers' utterances is thus the focus of pragmatics, and topics include deixis, presupposition, the cooperative principle and implicatures, the study of speech acts, analysis of discourse and conversation segments, and expression of politeness as some of the important research areas in the field.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of key concepts in pragmatics (sentence meaning versus speaker meaning, defeasibility, appropriateness, etc.); (2) demonstrate understanding of key pragmatic phenomena (e.g. implicature, deixis, presupposition, cooperative maxims); (3) apply methods of pragmatic analysis in order to describe the meaning of utterances and the inferences drawn in various contexts (conversation, various types of discourse); and (4) describe how meaning can be extended through manipulation by speakers and how such extensions may lead to pragmatic enrichment as well as semantic change.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) assignments; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit rules
[LING2001 Grammatical Theory: the Structure of Sentences
LING2202 Grammatical Theory (Syntax)]
(LING2003 Language, Culture and Society
LING1103 Language, Culture and Society)
LING3305 Semantics
Contact hours
36—lectures: 2 hours per week (over 13 weeks); tutorials: 1 hour per week (over 10 weeks)
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