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 Introduction

 Language functions
 The classification of macro-functions
 Functional development
 Micro-functions and functional language teaching
 Functional analysis and coherence
 Conversational principles: co-operation
 Flouting the co-operative principle
 Conversational principles: politeness
 The social basis of conversational principles
 Speech acts
 Declarations and performatives
 Speech act theory and coherence
 Underlying force
 Pragmatics, discourse analysis and language teaching
 Formal links between sentences are not enough to account our
feeling that stretch the language in discourse. These are neither
necessary or nor sufficient in brief spoken exchanges.
 It is important to realize that formal links reinforce the unity of
 For example: A) it’s a mystery to me, how the conjuror sawed
that woman in half.
B) Well, Jane was the woman he did it to. So presumably she
must be Japanese.
 Here in this example there are formal links such as (so,she,etc)
but it is not clear how the sequence make sense.
 In language functions one way of doing to look behind the literal,
formal meaning of which is said or written, and to consider what
the sender of the message intends to achieve with it and try to
understand its function.
 In discourse how such inference are made we will firstly examine
the range of possible function of language and secondly try to
understand how people correctly interpret them.
 Understanding help us to make relationship between the form
and the function of the language and also explain the stretches of
language. The term utterance for a unit of language used by
somebody in context to do something, to communicate and
reserve sentence for grammatically complete.
 Specialists in linguistics sometimes claim that if non-specialists are asked
what the function of language is they will reply that it is to send
information or to tell other people your thoughts.
 The referential function considered as most important function in which
adults and public world transmitting information.
 There have been conflicting attempts to classify the main functions of
language (macro-functions). Such as given below that identifying the
elements of communication:
 The addresser: the person who originate the message. This is usually the
same person who is sending the message. In case messengers and
 The addressee: the person to whom the message is addressed. This is the
person who usually receives the message. In case of letters and telephone
 The channel: the medium through which the message travels
such as sound waves, mark on papers and telephone wires.
 The message form: the particular lexical and grammatical
choices of the message.
 The topic: the information carried in the message.

 The code: the language or dialect such as Swedish, English

and Japanese etc.
 The setting: the social or physical context.

 Macro-functions are then established, each focusing attention

upon one element such as given below:
 The emotive function: communicating the inner states and
emotions of the addresser such as oh-No, Fantastic and Ugly.
 The directive function: seeking to effect the behaviour of the
addressee such as Please help me.
 The phatic function: opening the channel and checking it may
be for social reason such as hello, lovely weather etc.
 The poetic function: in which particular form chosen to send
the message. Such as the advertising slogan BEANZ MEANZ
HEINZ etc.
 The referential function: carrying information.

 The metalinguistic function: focusing attention upon the code

itself to clarify it. Such to distinguished between will and shall
because now a days it used for same thing.
 The contextual function: creating a particular kind of
communication. Such as it’s just a game.
 It is interesting to speculate if one accepts this classification on the
evaluation of functions in each human individual.
 Such as in example the crying baby is being expressive her cries are
not really language at all but instinctive reactions to the
 If the child is influenced by the behavior of her parents, she has
progressed to the directive function.
 Phatic communication also begin very early such as Chuckling,
gurgling and babbling.
 The poetic function is also appear at early when children phrase and
repeat without conveying any information.
 The referential function also gains prominence at early stage and
metalinguistic function also comes later these are the functions on
which the considerable amount of attention is lavished at school.
 Jakobson’s and Hymes’ provides categorization of language
into small number of macro-functions, we might then go to
subdivide each function and specify more delicate categories
or called micro-functions. A breakdown of the directive
function such as given below:
questions request for help
 Directive function = orders ---------requests for action
requests request for sympathy
pleas request for information
 Above figure show the division and re-division of micro
functions and formed sub-categories.
 Functional courses set out to list the purposes for which
students might wish to use language, and then to teach them
how to do so. In this they have important strengths and they
teach students skills which courses concentrating on formal
features of language: how to greet people , or how to maintain
polite contact while listening on the telephone.
 But they also have certain weaknesses, they become more
slippery and there is certain variations and disagreement.
 Certainly there is no list could ever claim to be exhaustive and
complete. There are also some pedagogic problems in
following lists of functions.
 Language function is to bind utterances in the absence
of formal links. A single utterance can perform many
different functions according to the situation. The same
sentence is seen to different things and according to
what it is doing.
 “The window is open” can have many different
functions, depending on who says it, to whom, and in
what situation. Said by a husband to a wife in the
middle of the night it might function as an expression
of worry. Said by a teacher to a pupil it might well
function as an order.
 There are two types of meaning.
 Semantic Meaning
 The fixed context free meaning.
 Pragmatic Meaning
 The meaning within the context, between
particular people.
 This idea was first proposed by the philosopher Paul
Grice in 1975.
 According to this principle, we interpret language on
the assumption that its sender is obeying four maxims.
 Be true ( the maxim of quality)
 Be brief ( the maxim of quantity)
 Be relevant ( the maxim of relevance)
 Be clear ( the maxim of manner)
 If the sender does not intend violations of the principle
to be perceived or if the receiver does not realize that
they are deliberate, then communication degenerates
into lying, obfuscation, or simply breaks down
altogether. All maxims are flouted for effect.
 The quality maxim is flouted without lying. For
example, figures of speech flout this principle. Like
metaphor “ Queen Victoria was made of iron” depends
upon the assumption that they will be interpreted
receiver's state of knowledge. Children and foreign
language learners sometimes take figure of speech
literally. So metaphor becomes a lie.
 The quantity maxim is violated in two
directions: creating wordiness if we say too
much and shortness if we are too brief.
 We deliberately flout relevant principle: to
signal embarrassment or desire to change the
 The maxim of manner is violated for humour,
by using puns and double entendres: to
establish solidarity or to exclude an over hearer
from the conversation.
 The linguist Robin Lakoff (1973) has formulated these
maxims as follows:
• Don’t impose
• Give options
• Make your receiver feel good
 These maxims explains many of those frequent
utterances in which no new information is
 In English we often give orders, and
make requests and pleas in the form of
elaborated questions (‘ would you
mind…Could you possibly…May I ask
you to…’) which give the option of
refusal. We apologies for imposing and
add praise to make our hearer feel good.
The politeness and co-operative
principles are in conflict with each other.
 The co-operative and politeness principles reflect a
dual purpose in human intercourse:
• To act efficiently together with other people.
• To create and maintain social relationships.
 Brown and levinson (1978) suggest that their
origin is same in all societies. All human beings,
in order to enter into social relationships with
each other, must acknowledge the face of other
people. The specific nature of face varies from
society to society. The theory also goes some
way towards answering the question why
people speak indirectly. It enables them to give
options and also to retreat behind the literal
meaning of what is said.

 Speech acts are speaker’s utterances which convey
meaning and make listeners do specific things (Austin
 An action performed in saying something.
 An approach which tries to formulate how such
knowledge is brought into play is speech act theory.
 This was formulated by the philosopher John Austin short
book with the simple title of How to do Things with
 These ideas were further developed by another
philosopher, John Searle (1969, 1975) who both added to
them and presented them more systematically.
 Speech act theory begins with the observation that there is a
class of highly ritualistic which carry no information about the
world outside language at all, because they refer only
 Examples of such utterances:
 Swearing an oath, sentencing a criminal, opening a building.
 They are the utterances in which say the words and doing the
action are the same thing.
 The function is created by the form.
 Such utterances are labeled declarations.
 The utterance, I sentence you to death, performs the
function of sentencing someone to death the function
is only performed (within certain legal system) by
this utterance.
 The utterance only succeeds in having this function if
certain external conditions are fulfilled.
 The condition which must be fulfilled are known as
felicity conditions.
 Speech act theory provides us with the means of probing
beneath the surface of discourse and establishing the function
of what is being said.
 It may help us to postulate structures beneath the surface,
sequences and relations of acts, may help us to go further
towards finding the answer to our original problem.
 We shall be able to examine the structure of discourse both in
terms of surface relation of form, and underlying relations of
function and acts.
 Speech act theory uses technical terms for these layers of
intention and interpretation.
 The formal literal meaning of the words is the locution; the act
which is performed by saying it the illocution; and a third
layer is pre-locution.
 An utterance is said to have illocutionary force and
prelocutionary force. The locution: a statement conveying
information that the speaker has been cleaning his boots all
 The illocution: to challenge the sergeant’s order.
 The per locution: to undermine the sergeant’s authority, or to
cheeky, or to escape the duty of cleaning the boots.
 Pragmatic interpretation of language: how people create
meaning and make sense of what is said in specific
 The importance of pragmatic theories in language learning is
really two fold.
 Firstly, the divergence of function and form means that we
cannot rely upon teaching only form. In production , learners
need to choose the words which most suitably realize their
 Secondly, the linking of form to function may help learners to
orientate themselves within a discourse.
 All learners of a foreign language are familiar with the
disturbing sensation of understanding every word and the
literal meaning.
 Traditionally, language teaching has concentrated only on
three levels of the formal language system--- pronunciation,
grammar and vocabulary--- and the way in which they
function within the sentence.