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Reviewed by:
  • Doing pragmatics by Peter Grundy
  • Laura Daniliuc and Radu Daniliuc
Doing pragmatics. 2nd edn. By Peter Grundy. New York: Oxford, 2000. Pp. 287. $24.95.

Designed as an interesting textbook and appealing as a teach-yourself guide, the second edition of Doing pragmatics presents itself as a remarkably comprehensive book and a valuable resource for beginners in the study of pragmatics. This thoroughly revised and updated edition includes eleven chapters dealing with a large variety of concepts and theories, all of them presented in a flowing manner.

The introductory chapter presents the meaning of some basic pragmatic concepts such as appropriacy, nonliteral or indirect meaning, inference, indeterminacy, context, relevance, and reflexivity.

The second chapter introduces the notion of deixis and the afferent concepts and illustrates the theory with even more practical examples in a ‘Deictic in the real world’ subchapter, covering a variety of common instances such as dining room, newspaper headline, and radio interview.

The next chapter presents one of the better known theories in pragmatics, John L. Austin’s speech acts theory, and offers a comprehensive description of various related concepts such as locution, illocution, perlocution, sentence types, direct and indirect speech acts, syntactic reflexes of indirect speech acts, and the speech act choice, as well as the links between language and action and the relationships between the literal meaning and indirect speech acts.

Moving higher on the scale of complexity, Ch. 4 presents H. Paul Grice’s theory of conversational implicature with the afferent conceptual set: entailment, implicature, maxims, types and tokens, and so forth, while Ch. 5 introduces a different theory on the same subject of implicit meaning: Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson’s relevance theory.

The next chapter tackles some concepts and theories commonly associated with the semantic and pragmatic nature of presuppositions such as shared assumptions and the principle of economy, as well as the relationships between shared assumptions and subordination, focus, stress, and negation, and concludes with the pragmatically conditioned status of presuppositions.

The next chapter comments on the issue of politeness, largely from Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson’s perspective, and presents the pragmatic aspects of politeness phenomena, the effects of politeness, the noncanonical politeness phenomena, the universal character of politeness, speech events and their formal properties, the role of utterances in speech events and conversation as a speech event, the conversation analysis perspective on talk, and the relationship between talk and context, society and convention.

The last two chapters of the book deal with theoretical considerations—metapragmatic and metasequential coding, metafunctions, and the place of pragmatics in a theory of language, and, respectively, with reflections on the nature of pragmatic investigation and such practical aspects of this work as data collection, transcription conventions, investigable topics, reading the literature, and practical examples of analyses in diverse settings.

The present edition of Doing pragmatics is remarkable for its accessible language and well-illustrated [End Page 220] approach to the pragmatic. It should be noted that the book is accompanied by ‘solutions and suggested answers’ to the exercises throughout, a glossary, and an index, all of which make the book a valuable companion for beginners in the study of pragmatics.

Laura Daniliuc and Radu Daniliuc
Australian National University


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pp. 220-221
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