This is a succinct introduction to the rapidly developing field of pragmatics - the study of language from the point of view of its users, of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on other participants in communication.
The book reviews the work of Austin, Grice, Searle, Levinson and others and examines the implicit meaning of everyday conversation, as well as the social importance and determination of our individually performed 'pragmatic acts'.
In this updated and thoroughly revised edition, Mey extends the treatment of metapragmatic phenomena to what is often referred to, in the US anthropological-pragmatic tradition, by the term 'indexing'. He has also given full-fledged treatment to his theory of Pragmatic Acts (including 'embodiment'), and has included new chapters on literary pragmatics and pragmatics across cultures. The final chapter on social aspects of pragmatics covers extensive recent research in what has come to be named the 'critical' orientation of the discipline.