In linguistics and related fields, pragmatics is the study of how context contributes to meaning. The field of study evaluates how human language is utilized in social interactions, as well as the relationship between the interpreter and the interpreted. Linguists who specialize in pragmatics are called pragmaticians. The field has been represented since 1986 by the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA).
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Pragmatics encompasses phenomena including implicature, speech acts, relevance and conversation, as well as nonverbal communication. Theories of pragmatics go hand-in-hand with theories of semantics, which studies aspects of meaning, and syntax which examines sentence structures, principles, and relationships. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. Pragmatics emerged as its own subfield in the 1950s after the pioneering work of J.L. Austin and Paul Grice.