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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2011
Coordinator(s)Dr Alice Gaby


Previously coded LIN3330


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.


Written work: 95%
Class test: 5%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



12 points of Linguistics at second-year level.