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Linguistics: Pragmatics

  • By: Jack Hoza
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Pragmatics is the subfield of linguistics that focuses on the study of how utterances are used and understood in context. Pragmatics is distinct from semantics, which deals with determining the meaning of a word/sign or sentence based on linguistic knowledge alone; this meaning is referred to as sentence meaning. In contrast, pragmatics deals with how an addressee determines a speaker’s meaning and intent based on the person’s utterance as it is expressed at a particular place and time, a meaning and intent that cannot be predicted solely from linguistic knowledge. Pragmatics deals with what has been referred to as speaker meaning. Research into signed languages indicates specific ways in which native signers use utterances in social contexts to convey intended meanings that may be quite ...

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