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What Is Pragmatics?

George Yule (1996) defined Pragmatics as the ability to deal with meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener (or reader). (Yule, 1996, pp. 3-4).

Pragmatics includes among other things politeness/impoliteness, speech acts (greetings, refusals, requests, compliments, apologies, complaints, etc.), conversational style, humor, sarcasm, teasing, cursing, discourse markers, conversational implicature (i.e., the implied meaning as interpreted by listeners based on the context of an utterance and their knowledge of how conversation works),

Yule adds that pragmatics is concerned with four main areas:

So, pragmatics is the ability to interpret people's intended meanings, their assumptions, their purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions (e.g., making a request, apologizing) that they are performing when they speak or write (Yule, 1996, pp. 3-4).

Why Teach Pragmatics?