Criticisms of pragmatics

Some of the criticisms directed at pragmatics include these:
  • It does not have a clear-cut focus
  • Its principles are vague and fuzzy
  • It is redundant - semantics already covers the territory adequately
In defending pragmatics we can say that:
  • The study of speech acts has illuminated social language interactions
  • It covers things that semantics (hitherto) has overlooked
  • It can help inform strategies for teaching language
  • It has given new insights into understanding literature
  • The theories of the cooperative principle and politeness principle have provided insights into person-to-person interactions.