Language use as principle:
The adaptation theory account
Shaozhong Liu, Ph.D. (Pragmatics) /
Ph.D. (Higher Education)
School of Foreign Studies, Guilin University of Electronic
Technology
Homepage: www.gxnu.edu.cn/Personal/szliu
Blog: cyrusliu.blog.163.com
Email: [email protected]
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Synopsis
1. Acquainting with Jef Verschueren
2. Adaptation theory: 1987; 1999
3. AT: What and why?
4. The explanatory adequacy of the AT
5. References
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1.
Acquainting with Jef
Verschueren
• Secretary General, IPrA (International
Pragmatics Association), IPrA Research
Center/Antwerp Center for Pragmatics
University of Antwerp - Stadscampus
Prinsstraat 13
B-2000 Antwerp
Belgium
• Current webpage at universiteit antwerpen:
http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=jef.verschueren
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Jef Verschueren
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2. Adaptation theory: 1987; 1999
2.1 IPrA's scientific goals
• The INTERNATIONAL PRAGMATICS
ASSOCIATION (IPrA) was established in 1986
to represent the field of pragmatics in its widest
interdisciplinary sense as a functional (i.e.
cognitive, social, and cultural) perspective on
language and communication. In particular, it
pursues the following goals:
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1). the search for a coherent general framework
for the discussion and comparison of results of
the fundamental research, in various disciplines,
carried out by those dealing with aspects of
language use or the functionality of language;
2). the stimulation of various fields of application
(such as language teaching, the study of
problems of intercultural and international
communication, the treatment of patients with
language disorders, the development of
computer communication systems, etc.);
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3). the dissemination of knowledge about
pragmatic aspects of language, not only among
pragmaticians of various 'denominations' and
students of language in general, but in principle
among everyone who, personally or
professionally, could benefit from more insight
into problems of language use.
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2.2 Pragmatics as a theory of linguistic adaptation
This is the name of a booklet, which is often mentioned as
the IPrA Working Document 1), published by
International Pragmatics Association at Antwerp. Later
“documents” of the IPrA were issued and mentioned as
“handbooks” which came out in, often, annual series.
Please refer to either the IPrA homepage at
http://www.uia.ac.be/ipra/hop/ or John Benjamins
Publishing House at http://www.benjamins.com.
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• The Handbook of Pragmatics Online places the field of
research known as pragmatics at its center of interest. But
our broad definition of pragmatics as the cognitive, social,
and cultural study of language and communication
indicates the breadth of the issues we see as relevant to
the study of language use and language in use. Details of
what such a broad definition of pragmatics exactly means,
and what it entails for the scientific status of linguistic
pragmatics, is explained in Jef Verschueren´s overview
article The pragmatic perspective (which already
appeared in the 1995 Manual; a more complete account is
to be found in J. Verschueren, 1999, Understanding
Pragmatics, London, Edward Arnold).
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• The overall purpose of the Handbook of Pragmatics
Online is that it should function as a tool in a search for
coherence in the sense of cross-disciplinary intelligibility,
in this necessarily interdisciplinary field of scholarship.
• To the extent that theories — in the sense of coherent and
systematically organized sets of assumptions, principles
and procedures — can be said to have a central position at
all in pragmatics, none of the current ones are adequate to
capture the full richness of simple but fundamental
intuitions about what it means to use language. Moreover,
it would be pretentious to believe, at our present state of
knowledge about the use of language, that anything
exceeding the barest outline of a program leading to a
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sufficiently sophisticated theory could be formulated right
now. Nor is it clear that it would be desirable to have one
theory, since theoretical depth is more likely to result
from the availability of competing models, or even
competing paradigms – as we have witnessed in recent
decades as proponents of monologism vs. dialogism have
explored very different facets of language use. The
Handbook of Pragmatics Online is primarily intended to
organize our present limited knowledge in such a way as
to stimulate future research and interdisciplinary debate,
and to reduce the risks inherent in disconnected
fragmentary studies.
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• Even this limited aim for the Handbook may seem overly
ambitious. Yet there are good reasons to strive for greater
coherence, even if it is not the intention to produce one
overarching theory. The jumble of scientific enterprises
with the label `pragmatic' is marked by such a high
degree of fragmentation that two linguists with slightly
different methodological and terminological backgrounds
might be unable to understand each other when talking
about the same subject, even if the basic points they are
trying to make are very similar. A reasonably coherent
way of organizing knowledge about pragmatic aspects of
language is indispensable if we want to achieve a minimal
degree of comparability across topics of inquiry, across
terminologies, andessentials
across
methodologies.
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• Such comparability is a conditio sine qua non for any
form of fruitful cooperation (which has been recognized
for ages in the sciences as a basic requirement for the
accelerated growth of insights). Without comparability
across methodologies and terminologies, and without
inter(sub)disciplinary cooperation, we cannot expect to
have the means to undertake any serious applicability of
our insights in areas such as language teaching, the
treatment of speech disorders, international and
intercultural communication, or natural language
processing systems, to name just a few of the more
important ones.
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• There is no doubt that the International Pragmatics
Association has exerted a beneficial influence on the
international development of the multidisciplinary field of
pragmatics, by means of its regular International
Pragmatics Conferences, its participation in the
organization of smaller-scale events, its publications, and
the like. The Handbook of Pragmatics can clearly be
situated in the same kind of context, and now, the
Handbook of Pragmatics Online seeks to become yet
another outlet and means in this continuous search for
(inter)disciplinary coherence. It follows that the major
task of the Handbook of Pragmatics Online is not so
much the search for unity as the struggle against
counterproductiveessentials
fragmentation.
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• It should, therefore, represent a continuous
exercise in flexibility, rather than an attempt to
impose a monolithic and unchangeable
framework. In other words, it is not intended to
consolidate a new, artificial, field of research, but
to enhance understanding by promoting
communication across the various
(sub)disciplines which are, in part or in their
totality, relevant to pragmatics.
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• Some basic options follow from this brief description of
the purpose and scope of the Handbook of Pragmatics
Online.
- Firstly, the primary aim of the Handbook of Pragmatics
Online is to provide easy access, for scholars with widely
divergent backgrounds but with converging interests in
the use and functioning of language, to the different
topics, traditions and methods which, together, make up
the field of pragmatics, in its broadest sense.
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• - Secondly, it is not intended as a textbook per se, nor is it
intended to be a forum for new research; rather, it pertains
first and foremost to be a state-of-the-art report. The
governing principle is that it will not be a once-and-for-all
ready presentation of what goes on in the field of pragmatics,
but that it is a reference work to be continuously updated. In
principle this will be a process taking place over an indefinite
time span. The main caveat in relation to an attempt to keep
up with new developments, is to make sure that whatever is of
value in ‘outdated’ trends and ideas should remain accessible.
If the right balance is found between historical accuracy and
the timely recording of innovative work, the Handbook of
Pragmatics Online can develop into a major instrument of
real scientific growth.
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• - Thirdly, the intended target audience is a
wide, international and interdisciplinary
academic community covering the entire
range of the humanities, and the social,
cultural, and cognitive sciences. In addition,
it wants to address any individual with a
personal or professional interest in the
problems of language use.
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• - Fourthly, given the general purpose and scope, and
given the practical options they entail, a special problem
is posed by the strong need for a transcultural approach
which pays due attention to the treatment of non-western
traditions. A predominantly ‘western’ slant can easily be
detected in this first version of the Handbook of
Pragmatics Online. Rather than reflecting a choice, this is
merely the result of circumstances, in particular the
restrictedness of knowledge readily available to the
editors during the preparation of the project. In terms of
active choices, a different picture is anticipated for the
future development of the Handbook. That is, nonwestern concepts and traditions, whenever relevant, will
become an integralessentials
part inofpragmatics,
the presentation:
such
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• linguistic traditions, as well as related disciplines, will be
systematically screened for the ways in which they
provide insight into the functioning of language. This
search was seriously undertaken in our work on the
paper-published version of the Handbook of Pragmatics,
but we feel we have so far not been successful enough.
This first online version will therefore retain this
inadequacy, but we foresee a change for the better with
the help of the international Editorial Board, which
coincides with the IPrA Consultation Board, and with the
help of the international network of scholars in the
International Pragmatics Association.
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2.3 Understanding Pragmatics
• Synopsis
This textbook focuses on pragmatics in its broadest sense,
covering the social, cultural and cognitive aspects. The
first section of the book sketches a theoretical starting
point for the exposition, making use of a limited prior
knowledge of some general linguistic concepts. The
second section provides the building blocks for an
understanding of pragmatics as a potentially coherent
field of inquiry, while the third explores methodological
issues with reference to specific practical research
questions.
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• Contents
Introduction (0.1 linguistics of language resources: component
of a linguistic theory 0.2 linguistics of language use: the
pragmatic perspective 0.3 pragmatics and interdisciplinarity
0.4 meaningful functioning of language 0.5 an infinite task?
0.6 summary and further reading 0.7 preview)
Part I The pragmatic perspective (Introduction 1. Language and
language use 2. Key notions)
Part II Aspects of the meaningful functioning of language
(Introduction 3. Context 4. Structure 5. Dynamics 6. Salience)
Part III Topics and trends (Introduction 7. Micropragmatic
issues 8. Macropragmatic issues 9. The pragmatic landscape)
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3. AT: What and why?
• Originally a working definition or working
framework for IPrA and its scientific activities
• Under the heading 9.3, Verschueren considers the
philosophical bases or precursors or parallels of AT
--My use of the notion of adaptability does not appear
in a vacuum, but could be seen as in instance of ‘an
emerging paradigm” (Van Parijs, 1981..
Evolutionary explanation in the social sciences: an
emerging paradigm. Totowa, NJ: Rowman &
Littlefield) in the social sciences. (Verschueren,
1999:263)
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--In particular, evolutionary epistemology extends
biological theory, and especially its natural
selection paradigm, to all aspects of behavior and
socio-culture, including language, learning and
science. (Verschueren, 1999:263)
• Charles Darwin and his evolutionary epistemology:
--Evolutionary epistemology views organisms as
engaged in continuous problem-solving, positing
behavioral and socio-cultural adaptations as the
product of ‘epistemic’ processes, and interpreting
human evolution in general as a growth of
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knowledge. (Ibid,
1999:264)
--There is a constant interplay of the organism to
the environment, so that although natural
selection may be adapting the organism to a
particular set of environmental circumstances, the
evolution of the organism itself changes those
circumstances. (Darwin, (1859) 1978. The origin
of species by means of natural selection or the
preservation of favoured races in the struggle for
life. New York: Mentor Books, p.159)
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--Applied to language, the variability of such functional
explanations may depend (as argued by Van Parijs) on a
distinction between natural selection mechanisms in
evolution (selecting or eliminating features through the
selection or elimination of the entities which they
characterize) and reinforcement mechanisms (selecting
features directly), the latter being closer to what seems to
happen in the shaping of languages and, by extension, in
the functioning of language. (Ibid, 1999:264)
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• Jean Piaget and his evolutionary psychological
theories about learning (Piaget, 1971. Functions
and structures of adaptation. In J. Piaget (1971).
Biology and knowledge. Chicago, IL: The
University of Chicago Press, pp.171-77 ). Piaget
believes that human beings need to cope with
multidirectionality of adaptation, which can be
seen as an equilibrium between assimilation (the
integration of a new element into an organism’s
cycle) and accommodation (the organism’s being
modified as a result of the assimilation). (Ibid,
1999:264)
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• Vygotsky (1978. Mind in society: the
development of higher psychological processes.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) and
his mental development theory
--Vygotsky views mental development as ‘those
means of adaptation we call signs’. He further
develops his views in Thought and Language
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986)
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• Edward Sapir (1921. Language: an introduction
to the study of speech. New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich) and his adjustment theory
--It (speech) is an extremely complex and evershifting network of adjustments—in the brain, in
the nervous system, and in the articulating and
auditory organs—tending towards the desired
end of communication. (Sapir, 1921:9)
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• P. Lieberman (1975. On the origins of language:
an introduction to the evolution of human speech.
New York: Macmillan) on adaptation:
--Human language could have evolved only in
relation to the total human condition. There
would have been no selective advantage for
retention of the mutations that gradually resulted
in the evolution of human language if language
had not been of used in what Darwin in 1859
termed the ‘struggle for existence’ (Liebermen,
1975:1)
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• Adaptability as universality (Verschueren,
1999:58-63)
• Levels of adaptability (Ibid, 1999: 75-201)
--adaptability to context (1999: 75-114)
--adaptability to structure (1999:11-146)
--adaptability to dynamics (temporal, contextual,
structural) (1999: 147-172)
--adaptability to salience (1999:173-201)
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4. The explanatory adequacy of the AT
• Verschueren defending himself:
--AT in context (1999: 75-114)
--At in structure (1999:11-146)
--At in dynamics (temporal, contextual, structural)
(1999: 147-172)
--At in salience (1999:173-201)
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• At in application
--[PDF] Linguistic Adaptations in Spoken
Human–Computer Dialogues
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
... 173 References .....175 ... Such
deliberate linguistic adaptations can be ...
www.lib.kth.se/Fulltext/bell031003.pdf
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--AT in China (at http://www.cnki.com.net)
Adaptation Theory in China 1994-2004-5-17: Titles
1.顺应理论对口译的解释力 曾文雄贵阳师范高等专科学
校学报(社会科学版) 2002/03
2.顺应理论与外语教学 谢少万 外语与外语教学2003/04
3. 顺 应 理 论 与 英 语 口 语 教 学 谢 少 万 山 东 外 语 教 学
2003/04
4. 也 评 “ 顺 应 理 论 ” 谢 少 万 西 安 外 国 语 学 院 学 报
2003/03
5.从顺应理论角度探析语用失误的原因 李桂芝、张国中
国海洋大学学报(社会科学版) 2003/01
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As of 12/13/2011, Wednesday
• 約有 50,500,000 項結果 (搜尋時間:0.28
秒)
• Purely academic articles: 共約有30,500項
查詢結果,這是第1-10項 。 (0.11 秒)
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• 顺应论对翻译研究的启示——兼论语用翻译
标准
• 戈玲玲 - 外语学刊, 2002 - cqvip.com
本文从顺应论的角度出发旨在探讨翻译标准
中的顺应性解释及顺应性对翻译研究的启示.
在“顺应论” 的框架内, 翻译是一个对原语的
语境和语言结构之间作出动态的顺应过程. 翻
译的标准放在不同的理论框架中其实是具有
不同的内涵, 将这些不同的内涵具体化, 既有
...
被引用 79 次 - 相關文章 - 全部共 2 個版本
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• 选择与顺应
• 宋志平 - 2007 - cdmd.cnki.com.cn
... 语篇语境对选择顺应的制约。如果把翻译
过程看作由原语语篇向译语语篇的转换过程,
翻译过程的
选择所要顺应的就不是一般意义上的语境,而
是译者语篇语境,这一新概念将语篇语境和翻
译语境有机
结合起来,并植入了译者语境视野,以选择顺应
为主线,构成了应用综观顺应论研究翻译过程
... 被引用 104 次 - 相關文章 - 頁庫存檔 - 全部
共 2 個版本
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• [DOC] 论“研究性学习” 课程的本质
• e21.cn 提供的 [DOC]张华 - 教育发展研究,
2001 - xkwq.e21.cn
论“研究性学习”课程的本质. ... 我国香港特
别行政区即将推出的新课程所确立的基本理
念是“终身学习。
全人发展”,贯穿这一理念的课程体系则以
“学会学习”(learning to learn)为总目标。
中国当前课程改革强调学习方式的转变,设
置“研究性学习”课程顺应了世界课程改革
的发展趋势。 ... 被引用 293 次 - 相關文章 HTML 版 - 全部共 8 個版本
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• 语言顺应论与二语习得研究
• 吴增生 - 四川外语学院学报, 2004 - cqvip.com
Verschueren的语言顺应论揭示了语言使用的
本质特征,为二语习得的研究带来了新的思
路。在概述
语言顺应论的基础上,着重论述该理论对二
语习得研究的启示及其实际应用价值。 ... 语
言 >> 语言学 >>
摘要. 语言顺应论与二语习得研究. 评论推荐.
在线阅读 下载全文收藏本文. 吴增生. ...
被引用 23 次 - 相關文章 - 全部共 3 個版本
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• 从语用顺应论的角度看翻译策略与方法
• 王建国 - 外语研究, 2005 - cqvip.com
... 江西财经大学外国语学院,江西南昌330013.
外语研究 《外语研究》. 2005年第4期. 摘要:
本文根据语用顺应论提出,翻译交际的过程
和结果是动态顺应的过程和结果,动态顺应
是翻译的策略,
直译、意译、归化、异化都是动态顺应过程
中主动顺应或被动顺应时表现出的一些具体
方法。 (共5 ...
被引用 37 次 - 相關文章 - 全部共 3 個版本
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5. References
• Verschueren, J..1999. Understanding pragmatics.
London: Edward Arnold, & Beijing: FLTR Press,
2000.
• IPrA homepage at http://www.uia.ac.be/ipra/hop/
• John Benjamins Publishing House at
http://www.benjamins.com.
• Verschueren, J. 1987. Pragmatics as a theory of
linguistic adaptation. IPrA Working Document 1.
Antwerp: IPrA.
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