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Pragmatics

Most discussions of pragmatics place the emphasis on the fact that pragmatics allows humanity into interpretation and analysis of communication-the speaker’s meaning, his or her intentions, play a crucial role. In this sense, more is communicated than is said. In the study of pragmatics, more than one tradition has developed. The most influential are probably the linguistic and philosophical traditions associated with the work of Paul Grice (1975); another tradition brings about a broader and more sociological approach to pragmatic concepts. Attempts to define pragmatics as the cognitive, social and cultural study of language and communication have also been recognized (cf. Mey 1998, Verschueren, Ostman and Blommaert 1995). Given that pragmatics covers such a wide range of phenomena, and given the assumption that pragmatic stylistics applies ideas from pragmatics, then the term pragmatic stylistics must cover a similarly wide range.

Pragmatic stylistics

As illustrated in the previous section, pragmatics, stylistics and pragmatic stylistics can be understood in different ways. In this study, I will focus on the application of pragmatic principles in the study of literary discourse. In my view, the process of stylistic analysis interfaces with discourse analysis and the literary text can be seen and analysed as literary discourse. By focusing on discourse aspects of literary text, I intend to demonstrate that the principles of cooperation and politeness, as well as the Irony principle and other aspects of interpersonal rhetoric, can be equally applied to the spoken as well as written communication. My assumption is that the author of a literary text provides readers with all the clues which are necessary to decipher discourse messages. The novelist creates particular settings, contexts and situations, which substitute for a real life environment. My aim is to consider the ways texts give rise to particular effects (pragmatic approach focusing on Cooperative and Politeness principles applied to a stylistic approach). Exploring cooperation between characters in the analysed literary text, the conception of interpersonal rhetoric introduced by Leech will be implemented and his hierarchy of pragmatic principles studied and discussed (Leech 1983). Prior attention is devoted to the principles of Cooperation and Politeness as first-order principles, the Irony and Banter principles as higher-order principles, and the Interest and Pollyanna principles (applied in the study of humour, which often develops to or overlaps with irony). Understanding literary discourse often involves interpreting indirect, more or less unpredictable messages. Here, the role of shared background knowledge, schemata, frames and scenarios (work in pragmatic stylistics has also largely focused on psychological processes involved in the understanding of texts) is crucial.

 
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