context of situation

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See also relevance theory.

1. Malinowski coined this phrase in 1923 to refer to the cultural context of use in which an utterance was located; furthermore, ‘the whole way of life’ (cultural context) had to be borne in mind in interpreting an utterance.

2. For Firth, all of the circumstances in which a spoken utterance occurs that are relevant in making sense of it. He emphasized that meaning is context-dependent: see also social situation.

3. For Halliday, extralinguistic circumstances of use that influence the linguistic form of an utterance: not only the social and physical setting, but also such factors as social relationships, the nature of the medium, the task, and the topic. He proposed that there is a systematic relationship between ‘typical’ situations and the types of language employed within them (see also register).

Subjects: Media Studies.

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