pragmatics
Definition - The study of how utterances are interpretted in context. As opposed to semantics, which is the study of those aspects of meaning that are independent of context.

Example -
The statement "I'm feeling a bit tired" literally indicates that the speaker is tired, but in a certain context, the speakers actual intended meaning might be "I don't feel like having sex."

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1937:
"Analysis reveals that linguistic signs sustain three types of relations (to other signs of the language, to objects that are signified, to persons by whom they are used and understood) which define three dimensions of meaning. These dimensions in turn are objects of investigation by syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics."
(C. Morris, Logical Positivism 4)

Quotation -
"The grammar of language includes rules of phonology, which describe how to put sounds together to form words; rules of syntax, which describe how to put words together to form sentences; rules of semantics, which describe how to interpret the meaning of words and sentences; and rules of pragmatics, which describe how to participate in a conversation, how to sequence sentences and how to anticipate the information needed by an interlocutor."
(Source: 1978 Scientific American Nov. 82/2 )



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