LINGUIST List 6.1698

Sun Dec 3 1995

Sum: Pragmatics Texts

Editor for this issue: Anthony M. Aristar <>


  1. "ALICE FREED", Summary of Pragmatics Texts

Message 1: Summary of Pragmatics Texts

Date: 03 Dec 1995 11:26:00 EST
From: "ALICE FREED" <>
Subject: Summary of Pragmatics Texts

At the beginning of November, I posted a query (6.1575) about
pragmatics textbooks for a new undergraduate course for
linguistics majors that we are offering. I would like to thank
the following people for responding.

Barbara Abbott; Salvatore Attardo; Susan Ervin-Tripp; Alan Firth;
Patrick Griffiths; Adam Karp; Virginia LoCastro; Cynthia
McLemore; Jason Miller; M. Lynne Murphy; Adriano P. Palma; Sonoko
Sakibara; Sam Salt; Peter K.W. Tan; Jenny Thomas; Gregory Ward;
Massimo Zancanaro

The number of available texts for a beginning course in
pragmatics is growing but there is no one text that seems to be
suitable for everyone's purposes. Nonetheless, a fair amount of
agreement about the available texts emerged from the replies that
I received. The comments below are not the opinions of any one
person but a compilation of received responses; where no comments
are given, none was received.

Diane Blakemore (1992) Understanding Utterances: An Introduction
to Pragmatics. (Less widely used than some; clearly written but
focuses primarily on Relevance Theory)

Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson (1987) Politeness: Some
Universals in Language Usage

Dascal (?) Pragmatics and the Philosophy of Mind

Steven Davis (1991) Pragmatics: A Reader

Georgia Green (1989) Pragmatics and Natural Language
Understanding (Useful and accessible; provides a fairly
theoretical or "formal" (as opposed to applied) view of
pragmatics; relates pragmatics to semantics and syntax; somewhat
preferred by graduate students over undergraduate students; 2nd
edition due out in April 1996)

Peter Grundy (1995) Doing Pragmatics (Little used so far since it
is new but early reviews are mixed; some said to watch for errors
in the text. Projects for students seem useful.)

Robin Lakoff (1990) Talking Power

Geoffrey Leech (1983) Principles of Pragmatics

Stephen Levinson (1983) Pragmatics (Universally liked; perhaps a
bit dated but considered a "classic"; the book devotes more space
to conversation analysis than most books on pragmatics;
considered clear and useful by everyone who commented)

Jacob Mey (1993) Pragmatics (Ambitious but useful text; seems to
cover more material than can be covered in a semester; pragmatics
is very broadly defined; book focuses more than most texts on
speech acts.)

Jenny Thomas (1995) Meaning in Interaction (New book with Longman
that was due out November 1995. No information available.)

Thanks again to everyone who replied.

Alice F. Freed
Montclair State University
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