Among the recent developments in the language sciences, the coming-of-age of the field of pragmatics and its official inauguration in the mid-seventies stand out as some of the most significant ones. The present work endeavours to sum up the development of the youngest offspring of linguistics in a number of conscientiously chosen, well-elaborated concepts that may be said to characterize both the discipline and its most famous practitioners. The increasingly complex notions and devices developed by linguists to cope with the description of naturally occurring language phenomena, have been joined with techniques and approaches due to the socially oriented schools of thought that see language first of all as a means of communication between human users. Based on the highly acclaimed and award winning Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics this volume provides a collection of articles throughout which the vast scope of the field of pragmatics is unfolded and explained in up-to-date terminology and authoritative interpretation. It covers the history and the development of pragmatics and also looks at the future perspectives.