Within the past three decades, different definitions of pragmatics have been proposed (Bar-Hillel, 1971; Haberland and Mey, 1977, 2002; Kasher, 1977; Dascal, 1983; Leech, 1983; Levinson, 1983; Mey, 1985, 1998; Biletzki, 1996). These reflect not just the different approaches to the study of pragmatics, but also the interdisciplinary nature of pragmatics itself. There appears to be a consensus whereby pragmatics is concerned with the examination of the use of language in context, or language users and conditions of use (Haberland and Mey, 1977; Blum-Kulka, 1997). The emphasis on users derives from the distinction, originally made by Charles Morris, between syntax, semantics and pragmatics within his theory of signs: syntax examines the relationship of signs to other signs; semantics studies the relations of signs to the objects to which they refer; and pragmatics explores the relationships between signs and their users (Morris, 1938).
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