Q: What is Pragmatics Wastebasket?
Q: Significance of Yehoshua Bar-Hillel’s note on the field of pragmatics?
Ans: Pragmatics wastebasket means when you consider things that are just pragmatics, but not real linguistics. Some linguists say that pragmatics studies only those things which are not worthy of scientific study. In other words, they consider pragmatics as meaningless stuff. In modern terms, the meaning of pragmatics wastebasket is taken differently. For example, if someone says, ‘I am tossing that question in pragmatics wastebasket’, the meaning it seems to carry is that ‘that question is just pragmatics and therefore not worthy of scientific study. But what it really means is that ‘that question is worthy of scientific study but too hard to deal with right now, or it would take us too far afield’. The term ‘Pragmatics Wastebasket’ was used for the first time in 1970 by Yehoshua Bar-Hillel. He argued that someone needed to ‘clean the basket’. He comes up with a serious study of pragmatics. His study resulted in a book known as Pragmatics of Natural Languages.