CMN 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Implicature, Pragmatics

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8 Mar 2017
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Lecture 2 - 1/18
I) Basic features of language
A language is made of
- phonemes (sounds)
- syntax (order that we put our words together; can be flexible with our orders)
- semantics (meaning)
- pragmatics (the words we use are meant to provide a purpose
Language is both digital and analogical
- Digital Code
- arbitrary elements (the language we use is mostly arbitrary, no reason why a
cat has to be called a “cat”, those words don’t truly represent what that animal is)
- rules exist for combining these elements (Ex: grammar)
- potential for transformation without losing the meaning of the overall message
Example:
similar to use of syntax - order of words might change, but meaning
doesn’t
- Analogic Code = a word is “thing-like”
- sounds connected to the word (close relationship between a word & what it
represents, like bomb really does sound like a “BOMB!” and a scream sounds like a
“SCREEEAAAM”)
II) Using Language
A. Cooperative principles and practices/Conversational MAxim (Grice)
- 4 Maxims
- Grice says this should be the default standard we fall back on:
1) Quantity Maxim = we should only say what is required
2) Quality Maxim = truthfulness; we should not say what we believe to be false,
we should not lie but only tell the truth, we should not make statements that we don’t
have sufficient evidence to support
3) Relation Maxim = we should communicate information/messages relevant to
everything else that we’re discussing
4) Manner Maxim = we should avoid being ambiguous/obscure when talking to
others; communicate clear and direct
B. Violation of maxims: leads to implicature (inference of meaning)
1) Quantity Maxim = talking too much shows you are lacking communication
competency
2) Quality Maxim = lying (Ex: Getting a good quiz score when you didn’t)
3) Relation Maxim = (Ex: How’d you do on the quiz? The weather is good
today.); implies you don’t wanna talk about subject discussed
4) Manner Maxim = being ambiguous/obscure
C. Bach and Harnish (1979) proposed 3 additional maxims
1) Politeness = we should always be polite when communicating w/ other ppl
2) Morality = we should not repeat the things/information we are supposed to,
especially when it’s privileged information; we should not ask for information that we
don’t need to know the answer to shows others that we are not trustworthy
3) Charity = follow all the maxims and don’t violate any of them
D. Edmondson (1981) proposed the hearer supportive maxim
- when hearing other’s parts, we should consider their perspective and not use
words/actions that suppress their beliefs/make them feel potentially uncomfortable
- creates an inability for change (how can we have debates if you don’t discuss
about disagreements)
E. Problems with Maxims
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