Levinson's Theory Of Pragmatics

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Pragmatics is the study of the principles of the use of language in interaction. Austin, Searle and Grice are the three philosophers whose ideas provided the theoretical basis for pragmatics. It is concerned with the way in which the meaning of utterance changes in relation to the context of use, the time of interaction and goals of the interlocutors. It is the study of how during a social interaction people experience, make sense of and react to the way meaning is communicated. In other words, it can be claimed as the study of how utterances have meaning in various situations. Levinson defines utterance as ‘the issuance of a sentence, a sentence analogue or sentence fragment in an actual context’ (18). To simplify, utterance may be called…show more content…
Conversational Implicature is one of the crucial phenomena in Pragmatics. It is used to elucidate how interlocutors mean more than they express verbally and non-verbally. It facilitates understanding of unsaid meaning which the hearer is supposed to infer. Conversational implicatures arise out of the treatment of the maxims of Cooperative Principle. The maxims, namely the maxim of Quality, Quantity, Relation and Manner, are expected to be followed by the interlocutors. The maxim of Quality expects the sincerity on the part of the interlocutors, the maxim of Quantity expects adequate amount of information, the maxim of Relation refers to the relevance of the ongoing conversation and the maxim of Manner refers to the brevity and simplicity of the language used in conversation. In drama, when characters avoid communicating by way of pauses and silence, it seems to be the violation of the maxim of Quantity, thus giving birth to Conversational…show more content…
It is marked with characteristic Pinter silence and pauses. The action in the play is simple as well as shocking. Max is a butcher of about seventy years old. He lives in a large old house with two of his three sons - Lenny and Joey, and a brother Sam. Teddy is the eldest son of Max and Ruth is Teddy’s wife. At the beginning of the play, Pauses in the following piece of conversation are suggestive.
MAX: What have you done with the scissors? Pause.
I said I’m looking for the scissors. What have you done with them? Pause.
Did you hear me? I want to cut something out of the paper.
LENNY: I’m reading the paper.
MAX: Not that paper. I haven’t even read that paper. I’m talking about last Sunday’s paper. I was just having a look at it in the kitchen. Pause.
Do you hear what I’m saying? I’m talking to you! Where’s the scissors? (P. 7)
Here pauses implicate Lenny’s negligence as well as lack of respect towards his father, Max. It also throws light on the lack of proper communication between them.
RUTH: … I was born quite near here. Pause. Then … six years ago, I went to America. Pause. It’s all rock. And sand. It stretches … so far … everywhere you look. And there’s lots of insects there. Pause. And there’s lots of insects there. Silence. She is still. (P.

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