Pragmatic is a word that describes someone who is realistic and concerned with facts and consequences. The word is derived from Greek pragma, meaning “deed,” and it refers to a philosophy of doing what works best in the real world rather than dreaming up abstract ideas.
There are a number of theories in pragmatics, focusing on how language is used in specific circumstances. Those include context-dependence theory, linguistic implicature, and conversational implicature.
The first important theory of pragmatics is context-dependence, which argues that different utterances and propositions can have varying meanings from one context to the next because of ambiguity or indexicality. It is a foundation for many other aspects of the field, including speech act theory and the theory of conversational implicature.
Context is crucial for some of the most common linguistic constructions, including demonstrative adjectives (these, that, there). It also governs the use of other phrases such as ellipsis and anaphoric pronouns.
It is an essential part of a child’s learning process. It can help them avoid physical injuries and make better decisions about safety.
However, if you tell a child there are invisible gremlins living in electrical outlets who will bite them if they touch them, that theory doesn’t “work” because it doesn’t have any reality to it. Likewise, if you say that Africans are not people the same way Europeans are people, that does not “work” because it does not have any reality to it.