Questions tagged [pragmatics]

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When can we use "This/That is how we/you do it"?

I found a restaurant review while searching for google maps, and this is an excerpt from it. This is how you do it. Delicious with a very nice outdoor space. Parking on the street was very vacant. We ...
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3 answers
53 views

Why does the verb "was" indicate the fact that no longer exists?

I often see on the Internet one sentence, He was rich. (He is not rich at present) Why does the sentence have such an implication? Is it customary only for this sentence to express that meaning? ...
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Pragmatic difference between two structures like that vs like it that [duplicate]

Is there any pargamtic difference between the following sentences? The children like that the clown performs in a circus. The children like it that the clown performs in a circus.
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"Avoided" categorized as a type of presupposition

while reading a Wiki page about pragmatics and presuppositions, I came upon this explanation: Some further implicative predicates: [...] X avoided Ving » X was expected to, or usually did, or ought ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Implication of unstated contrasting cases

Apologies if this question is answered elsewhere. I didn't know how to refer to the following phenomenon and consequently I didn't know what to search for. I'm happy for more expert users to add/...
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The word 'until': 'fought off the Dutch until 1903' _ does this necessarily imply being conquered in 1903? [closed]

In Bali, local rulers resisted the yoke of Queen Wilhelmina until 1908. Aceh, at the western extremity of the island chain, fought off the Ducth until 1903. I think the word 'until' can be interpreted ...
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1 answer
72 views

"It is that ..." sentences in a non-linguistic context

I sometimes see or hear "It is that ..." sentences as the following: (1) "It's not that I don't want to support you. It's just that I don't know how." I'd like to know if "It is that ..." ...
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In linguistics, what is called when you use a word to down-play something?

In any theories of semantics or pragmatics such as Grice’s Maxims and Speech Act Theory, is there a term when you use a word to “down-play”, “mitigate”, “soften-the-blow” of a word? I concoct a few ...
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1 answer
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Water can/may still get in

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language , page 184, reads May is virtually excluded instead of can in water can still get in, partly by the likelihood of it being interpreted epistemically ...
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1 vote
2 answers
222 views

"He has been learning to swim" implicates that he doesn’t know how to swim

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 164, reads He has been learning to swim implicates that he doesn’t know how to swim Is this true for most English dialects? In my native ...
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3 votes
2 answers
272 views

Do all “epicene” pronouns mean the same thing as one another?

There have been many pro­posed epicene or gen­der-neu­tral pronouns that have been pro­posed over the years and have re­ceived some level of use. My ques­tion is: do all of them mean the same thing? ...
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4 votes
1 answer
76 views

"When I last saw him he was dying, but now you'd hardly know he'd been ill"

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 122, reads He was dying is an implicature because of the possibility of cancellation, as in When I last saw him he was dying, but now you would ...
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1 vote
3 answers
136 views

What natural mechanisms in English are used to avoid to mention the number of things and the gender of people? [closed]

Sometimes it is necessary to ambiguate things. The bottom line is that I don't lie. Say, I have DOG. I don't want my neighbor to realize that I have only one dog, because if she realizes that I only ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What do these three sentences imply?

What do the three sentences imply? 1) I thought I would never have been an engineer. 2) I thought I would never be an engineer. 3) I thought I will never be an engineer. Does the first ...
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1 answer
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"Populist" in the following text context

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan’s main opposition party picked a pro-China populist mayor Monday as its candidate for the 2020 presidential race against an incumbent who often bashes Beijing. Does "...
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Pragmatics and subtle differences in meaning 'good' vs 'all-right', 'ok' etc

I've heard and noticed that the word 'good', when used in conversation, has connotations that may not be obvious to an L2 user. 'Good' can be taken to mean, that the person using it is hierarchically ...
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1 answer
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A: You haven't heard it? B: No, I heard it (nodding a yes)

A: You haven't heard it? B: No, I heard it (nodding a yes) I'd always expect as a positive response to a negative question Yes, I heard it / did. Why so? Link to video 22:32
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1 vote
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Referring to uncle's wife as "aunt" vs. nephew's wife as "niece"

I may be going out on a pragmatic/cultural limb here, but is there an asymmetry in the commonly accepted practice of referring to your uncle's wife as "aunt" but not referring to your nephew's wife as ...
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5 votes
2 answers
474 views

"Can I bum a cigarette?" - "I’m an athlete"

A: Can I bum a cigarette? B: I'm an athlete. I would like to know what the term for this type of answer is. To be honest, I came across it while reading an article online the other day, but it ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Difference between Pragmatics and Sociolinguistics [closed]

I have been doing some intense research on sociolinguistics and pragmatics and am becoming more and more confused as to what the distinction between them is. If someone could describe both concepts ...
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Semantically / Pragmatically correct / incorrect sentences

I am revising for my NLP quiz and am getting confused at the difference between semantic and pragmatic. I studied that semantic is the study of words and their meaning in sentences while pragmatic ...
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1 answer
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polite tag in questions : for me?

in the question "What's your last name for me?" asked by a clerk for a registration, does the prepositional for me soften it? 00:12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFjrerZ-EWo
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1 answer
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Why is 'if and only if' used here? [closed]

Would anyone please enlighten me on why the author uses 'if and only if' here? It sounds to me as though just 'if' sufficed for him to inform the readers 'Cats are her favourite animals' is the truth ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Can you limit something to a state of complete reduction?

If I were to limit something, does that mean I could limit it to a state of non-existence or none? Like if someone limits your abilities to talk can that entail that they prevent you from talking ...
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2 votes
1 answer
666 views

Usage of "in" and "on" in these examples [closed]

Why is it always "in" a movie and "on" television? You never hear or read anything like: He was in that TV show, "Columbo". He was on that movie, "Scarface". ...
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3 votes
1 answer
833 views

Is the prefix "pre-" meaningless in the terms "pre-heated" and "pre-board"?

This question poses a paradox of meaning. The general question is whether, if two sentences (x and y) can be used in the same situation, with the same literal meaning, and x and y only differ in that ...
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0 votes
3 answers
327 views

Is the use of the word 'damn' to express frustration offensive?

For example, will a sentence like 'It's so damn hot' be considered offensive by the person whom it is being said to?
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4 votes
5 answers
3k views

"Are YOU coming to get me" / "Are you coming to GET me" Is there any grammatical or semantic difference?

Is there any grammatical or semantic difference between the phrases: "Are you coming to get me?"—used to imply the question of whether that particular person is coming to get whoever. And this ...
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9 votes
4 answers
7k views

Origin of "How are you?"

I'm currently researching different greetings for a linguistics project and I'm having trouble finding information as to the history of the phrase, "How are you," or those of equivalent structures. I ...
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2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Difference between “pragmatics” and “pragmatism”?

pragmatic adjective prag·mat·ic \prag-ˈma-tik\ : dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories (http://www....
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12 votes
5 answers
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Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

My question is as the title says: Is it allowed for a pronoun and its referent to have different plurality? A specific example I am considering is a sentence like this: I love this cookie so much ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Pragmatics: "Let me go" [duplicate]

Let me go. / Let me do it. / Let me see, try, etc. Q1. Which meaning are these more close to? "Allow me to go, do, see?" or "I'll go, do, see, etc?" There are two reasons I doubt this: As far as I'...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What to do now- Is the statement incorrect

A novice to this "learning forum". I was working on sth that was a solution to a SQL query and it did not work out. So I uttered- What to do now. My manager, who is from Italy and whose ...
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3 votes
2 answers
417 views

Do English speaking subcultures attach different meanings to the phrase "I'm sorry"? [duplicate]

On a recent trip the US, someone explained to me that saying "sorry" meant taking responsibility for causing the loss. Thus you should only say sorry if you intended to fix the situation. (And ...
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Felicitated- pragmatics and connotations

This sentence from a major Indian daily amused me: The mother of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) constable, who died in the line of duty in Jammu and Kashmir, was felicitated at the 65th ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Is there a difference between a spigot and a faucet (usage in AmE) [duplicate]

What is a domestic tap called commonly in the US ? -a spigot? a device that controls the flow of liquid from a large container (MW) Dictionary meaning aside, I had this understanding that a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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The phrase - "I remain sceptical" vs "I continue to remain sceptical"

During a parent meeting , I heard a teacher say : I remain sceptical (on the progress of the child). and the parent questioning him- Why do you continue to remain sceptical? ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Arguably- does the adverb carries "what I am saying is unarguable" connotation [duplicate]

Arguably- “I’m a little confused about the usage of this word. "Roger Federer is arguably the best tennis player ever. This is what I heard in a conversation. My point is does the statement seem ...
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4 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is calling someone "old school"- offensive/derogatory? [closed]

My colleague, a relatively young school teacher, prefers not to use e-mails. He is digitally absent. During a recent teacher's meeting, while I appreciated his efforts towards content development,...
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0 answers
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I can surely do it for you [duplicate]

I can surely do it for you.. Is the use of surely correct or shall I replace it with certainly without change in meaning.
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can I be "friendfully yours" [closed]

friendly (advs). : Used to mean 'in a friendly manner. I am wondering if "friendfully" was/is in standard usage and would I sound primitive or ungrammatical if I dare write "friendfully yours" ...
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0 votes
2 answers
293 views

what is a word or a phrase to convey -" no more?

What is a word or a phrase to say when we had too much of something weird. Example- An enthusiastic friend takes me to a play and its puzzling and rather unimpressive to me and I want to yell- No ...
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23 votes
10 answers
4k views

Has "aught" survived in common usage?

In a movie that I watched recently, I heard- for aught I know, for aught I care. I work with a lot of native speakers, and they all told me it's not in formal or informal usage anymore. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
5k views

Sorry I didn't turn up, I clean forgot. What's the sense of "clean' and its usage hygiene? [closed]

Sorry I didn't turn up -I clean forgot. The explosion blew the cooker clean through the wall. What kind of usage is this- AmE or BrE ? The meaning of clean usually refers to removing something ...
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4 votes
1 answer
716 views

Is the use of the dative of possession (from Latin) in English phrases proper?

I am an avid Latin III student studying in high school, and I often think about the effect that Latin has had on English, not just through etymology and morphology, but in semantics and pragmatics. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
797 views

Is "that few" a correct expression?

We quite often hear the utterance "that many" as in I haven't had that many sweets! But is the opposite standard speech as well? Can one say: I don't have that few followers on Twitter! If so, ...
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68 votes
12 answers
140k views

What is it called when someone says something like: "I'm not a racist, but..."

Other examples are: I'm not sexist but (sexist comment) Not to be a dick, but (dick comment) No offense, but (offensive comment) And so on... where they are trying to excuse themselves ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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"noun of noun" vs. "noun+noun"?

I wonder if there is a significant difference at the semantic or pragmatic levels in using the compounds structures noun of noun or noun+noun. For example, is it the same to say "the consumption of ...
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3 votes
3 answers
45k views

"You got it" vs. "I got it"

When I watch TV drams or movies, I sometimes come across the expressions “I got it” and “You got it” meaning “I will do as you ask”. I am wondering if there is any semantic or pragmatic differences ...
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3 votes
3 answers
9k views

Are you being served/helped?

Being an L2 English speaker, quite often I get into funny - and sometimes embarrassing - situations. It usually happens when I say something pragmatically inappropriate for a situation. For example, ...
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