EFFECTIVE WAYS OF TEACHING PRAGMATICS: HUMOR IN THE CLASSROOM
Palavras-chave:Pragmatics, English Teaching, Humor, Systemic-Functional Linguistics
Pragmatics takes into account the relations between signs and their users, the speakers. When somebody says “Thanks, I’m not hungry” in response to the statement “You left the door open”, your are making a pragmatic mistake, because in such context “thanks I’m not hungry” is an inappropriate reply for the statement “You left the door open”. So, pragmatics is the dimension of the study of languages that deals with the relation between signs and their users in their concrete contexts of use, in other words, it is the study of the use of language in communication, particularly the relationships between sentences and the contexts and situations in which they are used. Pragmatics includes the study of: (a) how the interpretation and use of utterances depend on knowledge of the real world; (b) how speakers use and understand speech acts; and (c) how the structure of sentences is influenced by the relationship between the speaker and the hearer. Furthermore, within a Systemic-Functional perspective, language is functional (people use language with a purpose), semantic (the purpose is to make meaning and socially interact with other people), semiotic (meaning making by choice) and contextual (pragmatic) as social interaction influences and is influenced by the context in which it is inserted. In this line of reasoning, the objective of this paper is the consideration that in teaching L2 pragmatics the socio-culturally and contextually appropriate (or inappropriate) communication will depend on the teaching of L2 pragmatics in the classroom in certain instances, as there can be many pragmatically appropriate ways to ask for information, to schedule an appointment, etc. With this in mind, our corpus is based on utterances and situations found in teaching English as L2 environment. Our particular the context is one of a regular English class in a private English school in the state of São Paulo, Brazil in which the L2 teacher used the excerpt of the movie Philomena and comic cartoons to teach English. Some results showed that the great majority of students investigated could not make out the humorous scenes of the video scenes and cartoons before their L2 teacher explained the scenes/cartoons to them mainly due to pragmatic issues.
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