Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234769
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:



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Pragmatics is often described as the study of language use, and contrasted with the study of language structure. In this broad sense, it covers a range of loosely related research programmes from formal studies of deictic expressions to sociological studies of ethnic verbal stereotypes. In a more focused sense (the one used here), pragmatics contrasts with semantics, the study of linguistic meaning, and is the study of how contextual factors interact with linguistic meaning in the interpretation of utterances. This article briefly highlights a range of closely related, fairly central pragmatic issues and approaches that have been of interest to linguists and philosophers of language in the past thirty years or so.

Keywords: pragmatics; language use; language structure; language studies; ethnic verbal stereotypes; linguistic meaning

Article.  14900 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language

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