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Hi. In the previous video we
looked at pragmatics, the pragmatic layer of meaning. We saw that some sentences seemed to
change something about the world. We cannot really say they're true or
false. But rather, they do something. For example, when I'm in a wedding and I say, I do,
you cannot say that's true or false. But I've changed something
about the world. Now I'm a married man. We've also seen that all
sentences in the end, seem to have such a pragmatic meaning. Even if I'm saying a sentence
which is clearly true or false, I have a meaning with that. I want to inform you about
that particular fact. As a matter of fact,
even if I omit certain things, if I don't say them that
can have a meaning. Remember, there was an example of about
a professor who wrote a letter for her student, and omitted details and
that seemed to be meaningful. And we've discussed how Paul Grice,
a British philosopher, wrote a maxim which describes
this kind of phenomenon. And I'm going to discuss this more
with my students Martin and Inge. >> I was wondering firstly,
how this true false or changing the world works with sentences
other than declarative sentences? So you get the example of the letter
that the professor wrote and what you do at a wedding but
both of those things are statements and I wondered about questions, how does
that work, does it work in the same way? >> Yeah, so what about a question, so what
about, I don't know, who is coming for dinner tonight? All right, so what does it mean. Does it have a semantics you think? >> I don't know. You can't say it's not true or false. >> Right.
>> You cannot say who's coming for dinner, no. >> Right. No, you can't say, so someone asks you,
who's coming for dinner tonight, you cannot say, that's false. >> Yeah.
>> So that, it's not immediately obvious that
that has a semantic meaning in that sense. But actually to some extent, it does
because there is still all the meaning, all the semantic meaning, connected to
somebody coming for dinner tonight. Right? So to some extent you could say
that the semantics of the sentence is indeed something like. Somebody's coming for dinner tonight, but it is a very strong heavy
pragmatic layer on top of it. Pragmatic layer which is I want you to tell me who this somebody is
>> Yes, and then also, there is the point that,
like you said, I want you to tell me who that someone
is and you specifically ask me, so you already think that I
know who that somebody is. >> Yeah, right so
this sounds already complicated enough for it to be real pragmatic right. So it's I want you to
think that I want etc. So this back and forth that's
a clear indication of pragmatics and you could say basically every question
seems to have that kind of pragmatics. However of course you can also use
questions in different kind of ways. I mean I can say, I am coming for
dinner tonight right? And then that has the form of a question, but I'm actually not asking you for
any kind of information. So we can add extra layers of pragmatic
meaning on top of any of these questions as well. >> Yeah, and so that is a question and
we have a declarative sentence. But then there's also,
as the third option, an order in which I say,
go away or bring me a coffee. And then, I think clearly
you change the world again. But, it's not a true or false statement. So, does it work in
the same way as questions? >> Yeah, I think so. So, if you say, go away. Again, I tell you go away. You can't say that's false,
or that's true. But again there is some kind
of semantic meaning because somebody going away has some
kind of semantic meaning. And that's the meaning which the semantic
meaning which I would say the sentence typically has so it means something
like somebody is going away and the pragmatics of that typically is
I want you, to be that somebody. Or more generally I want you to make
sure that that sentence becomes true. >> For you, for me. >> Fine it's,
yeah the easiest this stuff you go away. >> Yeah, okay cool. >> Sorry Martin. [LAUGH]
>> Okay, well I've been thinking
about another question. because I was wondering about
this maxims from Paul Grace. And I was thinking, okay, so
there's this maxim about quantity, and I've never heard of it
until the previous video. And I was wondering, how is it
possible that I still feel like I'm communicating successfully even
though I've never heard of this rule. >> Right, yeah that's interesting. So, how can you follow a rule which
you don't really know about or didn't know about so far, or do you
become a better communicator because you are a linguist,
I don't think that is necessarily true. >> [LAUGH]
>> But it is, I think you have to think
about this like natural laws. Right.
So you also don't know about the law of gravity and still you fall. So if you step off stairs,
you still fall down. And that's not, you can't say, that's
funny because I've never read any Newton. How can I do that? So this was Grice's main goal was to
describe the world as it really is. >> So it's not a rule really? It's a description of some
kind of pattern that he's- >> Yeah, well, yes. I guess so.
Well you could say, I mean, law, the word law is also ambiguous in a sense. So there's a law, like in law studies,
they study laws, which you have to follow, so you can break them, but you have to
follow them, otherwise you get punished. >> Yeah. >> But in physics they study natural laws,
which you just cannot break. And interestingly, so Grice's maxim
is more like the second type, so it's something you cannot escape. You cannot get out of it. A professor who wrote this letter,
she gave less information than was required, but again say okay,
but that's breaking Grice's law because actually automatically interpreted
as if it is enough information. So it means by writing this letter,
she's trying to convey to us that there's just not more information than
just this little bit which there is. Although I have to admit that people,
because people can do everything, right. So we linguists,
we have to deal with people and they can always decide to
break a law willingly. That's my other example of the spouse. Who said,
I've eaten half of the apple pie. So that was mean of the spouse. Right.
So, if the spouse does it too often, this kind of saying, then you start feeling
you can no longer communicate together. >> I see. Yeah. >> In this video, we discussed a little
bit more the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. And in particular we have seen that
really every sentence in human language seems to have both the semantics and
the pragmatics. Even sentences which are not clear, declaratives which don't seem to be
clearly true or false, like questions, or orders, still have the semantics
as well as the pragmatics. We just have to dig a little bit deeper. We've also seen that the rules we're
talking about here, like Grice's Maxims, are not rules like in an ordinary sense. They're not rules like stop when
you see a red traffic light. But they're also not completely like
natural laws, because we are humans and we can decide to break them. Except that when we do so,
communication completely breaks down. And we never expect that. We never expect that other
people will break those laws. In the next video we're going to
look more into semantics again. And I'm going to invite you to study
the semantics of color terms for our informants.

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