Pragmatics and Discourse Studies

Thu Mar 27 23:52:35 UTC 2008

Dear Helmut,

I stand corrected. I'm curious about the editorial you mentioned where you commented that "one thing is the scope that the Founders and Editors had in mind, another what the contributors make of it." Could you let me know what year that was published?



On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 12:18 PM, Hartmut Haberland <hartmut at> wrote:
         If I (as one of the two founding editors of the Journal of Pragmatics) may comment on Gabriella's contribution:
 The Journal of Pragmatics always considered its own view on pragmatics very broad. 
 Let me quote from the original Editorial of 1977:
 "From the "outside", one could define linguistic pragmatics from the perspective of
 the concrete practice of language (i.e. with regard to the actual use, and users, of
 language), as well as from the point of view of the concrete practice of linguistics
 (use and users again).- From the "inside", the science of the use of language can be
 viewed essentially as the study of the conditions that govern the use of language."
 "A broad definition of linguistic pragmatics, such as the one presented above,
 bases itself on the study of 'natural' language, and by that fact, as we have seen, is
 bound to focus on the twofold aspects of (a) the uses (end users) of language, and
 (b) the uses (and users) of linguistics. It should be clear that a broad scope of this
 kind, with its focus on pragmatic linguistics both as an object of linguistic actitivity
 (the uses and users of language) and as a way of doing linguistics (the uses and users
 of linguistics) will entail a similar broad scope, as well as a similar focus, in describing
 a periodical such as our Journal of Pragmatics." (Haberland & Mey 1977)
 I understand that Stephen Levinson agreed with this characterization of the Journal,
 when he some 15 years later, referred to "our" broad kind of pragmatics as "Continental" pragmatics.
 I have, in turn, taken the liberty of referring to his kind of pragmatics as "Insular", as a purely
 geographical term (in my Guangzhou lectures on Pragmatics of 2006). (I hope he won't mind.)
 Of course, as Jacob Mey and I remarked in a later Editorial, one thing is the scope that the Founders
 and Editors had in mind, another what the contributors make of it.
 So let me repeat: the Journal of Pragmatics considers as its scope the study of human language as an
 activity in its broadest sense, and we hope that our potential contributors will do the same.
 Hartmut Haberland
 Founding Editor
 GABRIELLA MODAN wrote: From: "galey modan" <gmodan at>
 To: "Tahir Wood" <twood at>
 Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 11:56:43 +0100
 Subject: Re: Pragmatics and Discourse Studies
 I think the issue here is that there are broader and narrower definitions of pragmatics, and the Journal of Pragmatics adheres to the narrower defnition. While in Europe and maybe Latin America (though I'm not sure of that) pragmatics covers 'language in use' along the lines that Teun outlined, in the US pragmatics is more narrowly defined as a study of language meaning in use (so pragmatic meaning as opposed to semantic meaning), and generally has a more formal orientation. It's focused more on the mechanics of such phenomena as speech acts, scalar implicature, signalling of given and new information, presupposition, etc. In this perspective, interactional processes such as turn-taking or footing, or other discourse phenomena such as discourse markers, reported speech, tense variation, or framing would fall under discourse analysis but not under pragmatics. Although the _Journal of Pragmatics_ is not an American journal, its take on pragmatics is more narrow and more formalist than, for example, the journal _Pragmatics_. From the brief description you've given, it sounds like a journal like _Discourse Processes_ or _Text_ might be a good venue for your work.
 best regards,
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