You are currently using the site but have requested a page in the site. Would you like to change to the site? Jacob L. As such it is an appropriate text for both the undergraduate student of pragmatics and the more advanced reader in the field.

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We expect these discussions to be informal and interactive; and the author of the book discussed is cordially invited to join in.

Then contact Simin Karimi at simin linguistlist. Mey, Jacob L. Lourdes Aguilar, Autonomous University of Barcelona. In the Preface, the author explains the substantial ways in which this second edition differs from the first: a the three chapters on speech acts have been shortened into one chapter 5 , as well as the former chapters on conversation analysis have been replaced by a new chapter 6 ; b new material has been brought in, mainly in chapters 7 through 11; c the earlier "Exercises and Review Questions" have been replaced by a section at the end of each chapter called "Review and Discussion", where detailed commentaries or model solutions are offered to the individual exercises.

The book is organized in three parts which can be read more or less independently: Part I. Basic Notions chapters , Part II. Micropragmatics chapters , Part III.

Macropragmatics chapters This book is intended as an introduction to pragmatics, so topics are examined in depth with lots of well-explained and appropriate examples. However, it is also opened to broad readers since detailed analysis in the areas of literary pragmatics, universality and social aspects of language use are presented in Part III.

Each chapter finishes with a section of exercises, most of them with commentaries, which provide valuable data for the matters presented in the respective chapters. CONTENT Chapter 1 is addressed to define and delimit pragmatics; that is, to better understand what pragmatics is and what pragmatics does.

Emerged as a shift from the paradigm of theoretical grammar to the paradigm of language user in the late sixties and early seventies, pragmatics is interested in the process of producing language and in its producers, not just in the end-product, language.

All the contents in the book are guided by the following definition: Pragmatics studies the use of language in human communication as determined by the conditions of society. In a field with so many subtopics, the author has chosen to include: the delimitation between pragmatics and other disciplines, such as linguistics, and philosophy; the importance of social aspects in the use of language; the nature semantic or pragmatic of presuppositions.

After these two introductory chapters, the chapters in Part II, Micropragmatics, take account of the main approaches to the study of language in use and users language. Chapter 3 deals with the notions of context, implicature and reference. The notion of context is extremely important along the book. It is seen as a dynamic concept: it is the universe of everyday language use, the sum of what people do with each other in conversations.

With respect to implicature, Mey distinguishes conventional implicature, which do not depend on a particular context of language use, from conversational implicatures. The chapter concludes with the problems of reference and anaphora in language use, which are not just a matter of grammar. After examining the nature of rules and principles in Chapter 4, Mey restricts the use of rules primarily to syntax: in pragmatics, it is preferred to work with principles.

Here we find a discussion of the principles proposed by Grice, Horn and Sperber and Wilson. Chapter 5 explores which criteria are needed for dealing with those human utterances that are "words with which to do things" p. Using a model of speech act, the promise, the author presents the proposals of Austin and Searle, and ends the chapter with a critical review of these systems.

The main issue is that "in real-word interaction successful performance is not exclusively due to the power inherent either in the user or in his or her words or speech acts.

Ultimately, this power resides in the society" p. As a consequence, it is needed to pay attention to contextual conditions when describing speech acts, and, in general, people's use of language p. The very important idea that all speech is situated speech, which will be thoroughly treated in Part III is introduced in this chapter. In Chapter 6, the author situates the speech acts in the environment in which most of them normally an naturally occur, namely, in conversation.

He criticizes the framework in which Conversation analysts operate, strictly that of a co-text: instead, it is necessary to take the context, that includes societal aspects, into account. From this viewpoint, conversation is "a way of using language socially, of doing things with words together with other persons" p. Content-oriented mechanisms of conversation cohesion and coherence and formal aspects of conversation turns and turn-taking are presented in this chapter 6.

After reviewing the main objects of study in pragmatics in Part II, Part III Macropragmatics is devoted to the analysis of some metapragmatic phenomena. The author follows Caffi in the three ways of dealing with metapragmatics: 1 Metapragmatics needs to show how the methodological and conceptual apparatus of pragmatics differs from that of linguistics and semantics; 2 Metapragmatics should worry about the circumstances and conditions that allow us to use our language or prevent us from using it; 3 Metapragmatics has to do with the way language is able to make statement about itself.

These aspects are treated in Chapter 7: the metapragmatic function and character of rules and principles, the general conditions under which the users work with language; indexing as an aspect of metapragmatic awareness. Probably the central chapter in this book is Chapter 8, where the concept of pragmatic act which has been used in the preceding chapters in contrast with other notions from other language schools is developed.

Taking as a point of departure the notion of speech act, pragmatic acts incorporate the notion of "common scene". The main criticism against speech act theory is that speech acts to be effective have to be situated: "they both rely on, and actively create, the situation in which they are realized p. In short, "there are no speech acts, but only situated speech acts, or instantiated pragmatic acts".

As a consequence, the emphasis is not on conditions and rules for an individual speech act, but on characterizing a general situational prototype, capable of being executed in the situation what Mey calls a pragmeme. Thus, the instantiated, individual pragmatic acts refer to a particular pragmeme as its realizations.

In other words, a pragmatic act is an instance of adapting oneself to a context, as well as adapting the context to oneself. Pragmatic acts are situation-derived and situation- constrained. At this stage, the notions of principles and rules are replaced with that of constraint: A constraint, given the actual speech situation, will identify the possible ways of obtaining our interactional goals p. On page , an schema of variables taking part in a pragmatic act is proposed. It is specially interesting the inclusion of body moves as not only a supplement to verbal exchange but a pragmatic act on its own.

The next chapters examines particular instances of pragmatic acting. Chapter 9 is concerned with reading and writing as pragmatic acts. The features that characterize the dialectic aspect of literary production are discussed: textual mechanisms reference, tense, discourse , voice and point of view, ways of reading.

The text is conceived as an author-originated and -guided, but at the same time reader-oriented and -activated process of wording p. Chapter 10 focuses on the problem of the pragmatic appropriateness of a particular expression in a particular context of use which tend to be rather different from culture to culture.

Some cases in point are studied: politeness and conversation, cooperation and conversation, forms of address, the role of the silence. In chapter 11, on the basis of data proceeding from the language in education, the language of the media, the medical language, and questions related to social variables, the author shows how the clashes of interest between social groups are expressed in the language.

Rather, language is used as social empowerment. To conclude with the general scope of the book, in Mey's own words, if "pragmatics is the study of human communicatively using language in the context of society" p. Probably the most introductory tone is found in Part I, where we can found a critical review of the main schools coming from linguistics, philosophy or other areas of knowledge concerned with human language behavior. One feature of this text that I found particularly interesting is the background Mey gives to explain how each approach in the discipline has come to ask questions and examine data.

His discussions always starts with a brief history: namely, the most influent author, the most significant work, and what is more revealing, the reasons that motivate changes in perspectives of study. Thus this book, or chapters from it, is an useful textbook for introductory courses in pragmatics.

It also has potential uses for researchers since the analysis of some instances of language human behavior the world of conversation and writing, the problem of universality across cultures, the use of language in education, in the media or in institutionalized discourses such as the medical language, language as an index of social empowerment opens questions and suggests new ways of addressing these issues.

However, since the author constantly helps the reader with lots of well-explained and appropriate examples jokes, stories, personal experiences , the argumentation is still suitable for beginners in the field. A drawback I have found is the absence of bibliographical references coming from sociolinguistics, specially, those works of S. Romaine about language and gender , in chapter Even it is impossible cover all the areas implied with language behavior e. Oxford: Pergamon, pp 4: Romaine, S.

Her areas of interest include: phonetic and phonological analysis of spontaneous speech samples, discourse analysis of the language of the media, speech and language technology systems.


Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd Edition

Pragmatics : An Introduction. Jacob L. This is a succinct introduction to the rapidly developing field of pragmatics - the study of language from the point of view of its users, of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on other participants in communication. The book reviews the work of Austin, Grice, Searle, Levinson and others, examining the implicit meaning of everyday conversation, as well as the social importance and determination of our individually performed 'pragmatic acts'. In this updated and thoroughly revised edition, Mey extends the treatment of metapragmatic phenomena to what is often referred to, in the US anthropological-pragmatic tradition, by the term 'indexing'. He has also given full-fledged treatment to his theory of Pragmatic Acts including 'embodiment' , and has included new chapters on literary pragmatics and pragmatics across cultures.


Jacob L. Mey

Access options available:. Reviewed by: Pragmatics: An introduction by Jacob L. Mey Marco Shappeck Pragmatics: An introduction. By Jacob L. Malden, MA: Blackwell, ISBN This textbook is primarily intended for linguistics students and scholars seeking a circumstantial introduction to the study of pragmatics.


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