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By P. Segerdahl

This article bargains a philosophical exam of the elemental conceptual framework of pragmatic conception, and contrasts this framework with targeted descriptions of our daily practices of language use. whereas the consequences may be hugely proper to pragmatics, the research isn't really a contribution to pragmatic conception. Drawing on Ludwig Wittgenstein's method of philosophical difficulties, the e-book brings out the relevance of Wittgenstein's tips on how to basic difficulties in imperative pragmatic fields of study akin to deixis, implicatures, speech acts and presuppositions.

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Extra info for Language Use: A Philosophical Investigation into the Basic Notions of Pragmatics

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Why is it so tempting to explain the meaning of the words T and 'you' in terms of the words 'speaker' and 'addressee'? Previously I showed that expressions of time have their meaning only as parts of activities involving clocks. The same is true of the vocabulary for describing speech events. To understand the words 'speaker' and 'addressee', for example, is to master the use of these words in connection with actual speech events; it is to master judgements of the type: the speaker is located by the window the addressee is my brother the speaker is my cousin 28 Deixis when confronted with actual speech events.

What is it that we teach children when we instruct them in how to tell time? Where does the difficulty lie for children when they are beginning to understand this kind of sentences? Is it to interpret the meaning of the phrase 'it is nine forty-five'? If children have a problem here, it essentially involves the difficulty of mastering the face of the clock. To understand sentence (C), or the meaning of the phrase 'it is nine forty-five', involves mastering the use of ordinary clocks. The understanding of language involves the mastery of activities of life.

Levinson 1983: 8) Levinson's remark might be viewed as a possible threat to the idea of language as an autonomous system. But consider John Lyons's observation about deixis: There is much in the structure of languages that can only be explained on the assumption that they have developed for communication in face-to-face interaction. This is clearly so as far as deixis is concerned. (Lyons 1977: 637-638) Here, Lyons expresses himself as though the facts of deixis not only can, but should be reconciled with the idea that language is 15 16 Deixis a structure which is conceptually separate from the contexts of its use.

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