Semantics and pragmatics:
Meaning through interaction
The meaning of a word is its use in the language.
A description of meaning remains incomplete without considering the extralinguistic reality and the user of language. Thus, the linguistic subfield of pragmatics has been introduced in order to examine how speakers understand and communicate more than the literal meaning of words and sentences.
As there is a whole module investigating the central issues of pragmatics, the following paragraphs are only aimed at briefly describing some general aspects that help to understand how meaning in interaction is constructed and interpreted. For more detailed information as well as exercises, check pragmatics.