All terms

What is Pragmatics?

The study of how language is used in context.

Pragmatics: The Art and Science of Contextual Communication

Pragmatics is the study of how language is used in real-life situations or contexts, taking into account factors such as the speakers' intentions, the listeners' expectations, and the social and cultural norms that shape communication.

Pragmatics focuses on the subtle and complex aspects of language use that go beyond the literal meanings of words and sentences, such as implicatures, presuppositions, speech acts, politeness strategies, and discourse coherence. It deals with the art and science of contextual communication, which involves not only linguistic knowledge but also social and pragmatic competence.

Pragmatics is particularly relevant for creative writers, who often rely on the use of language to convey meaning, evoke emotions, and create vivid and memorable images. A skilled writer knows how to use language in a way that resonates with the readers' experiences and expectations, while also challenging and expanding them.

Pragmatics in Literature: Illustrating Contextual Communication in Creative Writing
Explore how pragmatics is utilized in popular literary works.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield's use of colloquial language and slang, along with his digressions and repetitions, illustrates his disaffected teenage voice and helps to convey his alienation and confusion to the reader.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

In To Kill a Mockingbird, the use of dialect, such as the African-American character Tom Robinson's broken English, and the Southern white characters' vernacular, emphasizes the racial and class divisions in the society depicted in the novel.