Herbert Clark - Using Language
(The following is from great summary by Clark on p. 391)
Studying language - 2 categories:
Language structure (syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
Language use (Clark's focus of book)
On Language Use:
we use signals- acts by which one person means something for another
There are three basic methods of signaling:
describing as - we describe something as a fish when we present the word fish
indicating - we indicate an individual fish when we point at it
demonstrating - we demonstrate the size of the fish when we hold our hands so far apart
The signals created by these three methods form a coherent category of human action, where linguistic utterances do not.
Most linguistic utterances are composite signals (Ch. 6).
Example: "That book is mine" while pointing at the book
In this case, the reference to the book is describing as and indicating: it requires both words and a gesture. We cannot make sense without both of the signals.
Example #2: "At the baseball game today, one guy got so mad at the umpire that he went [rude gesture] and yelled 'Go back where you came from' [imitating an angry voice and cupping his hands around his mouth]"
In this case the utterance contains as constituents two demonstrations of what the fan did - the rude gesture and the quotation. We cannot account for meaning without appealing to both signals (indicating and demonstrating) - which are two non-linguistic methods of signaling
Language use (signaling) is very important to the study of language- and we should not study language by simply studying language structure, but rather as a whole (language use and language structure)