Skip to content | Change text size

LIN2330 - Pragmatics: Strategies for Communication

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Keith Allan


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Flexible)


The (neo-Gricean) cooperative principle in language interaction; language understanding as a constructive process; sentence meaning and speaker meaning; politeness phenomena; Sperber and Wilson on manifestness, ostension and intention; the nature of practical inference; relevance theory; implicature and presupposition; information structure, definiticity, and anaphora; literal and nonliteral language; theories of speech acts; pragmatics and discourse; pragmatics across cultures and subcultures.


Upon completion of this subject students should be able to come to appreciate that language understanding is a constructive process using not only knowledge of the language but also inferences based on context and common ground -- knowledge of the world, and knowledge of the conventions of language use; recognise that communication cannot function without conventions such as the cooperative principle in language interaction originally identified by Grice, and/or Sperber and Wilson's relevance theory; recognise the way in which politeness strategies (more precisely, face concerns) function as a significant component of language understanding; have some basis for dealing with the fact that different pragmatic conventions across cultures and subcultures can lead to unforeseen misunderstandings; understand the nature of practical inference, and how to calculate implicature; gain a firm grasp of the main principles, achievements, and limitations of speech act theories; justify categorising expressions as either literal or non-literal, direct or indirect, on-record or off-record.


Three assignments: 90%
Class test: 10%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


A first-year sequence in Linguistics or Communications.