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Dear Teachers,

1. - Some poeple just have their quirks when it comes to language, I guess.

- Oohh! You said a mouthful.

- What does "you said a mouthful" mean here?

2. - Oh, no! I forgot to put the meat in the fridge.

- Good for you! Now what should we eat?

- What does "good for you!" mean here?

3. - Don't tell me that you ate all the cookies.

- Yes, I couldn't help it. They were so good.

- "I couldn't help it" here means "I couldn't control myself to eat them", right?

Thanks very much to Teachers,

Stevenukd.
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Comments  
1. - Some poeple just have their quirks when it comes to language, I guess.

- Oohh! You said a mouthful.

- What does "you said a mouthful" mean here? -- you said a lot; your statement was comprehensive

2. - Oh, no! I forgot to put the meat in the fridge.

- Good for you! Now what should we eat?

- What does "good for you!" mean here?-- Well done! That was a good thing to have done!

3. - Don't tell me that you ate all the cookies.

- Yes, I couldn't help it. They were so good.

- "I couldn't help it" here means "I couldn't control myself in eating them", right? -- Right.
I think #2 was supposed to be sarcasm, don't you?
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I think #2 was supposed to be sarcasm, don't you?
Yup! Otherwise it's pragmatically infelicitous, if not completely anomalous!
CJ
I'm the one who wrote "You said a mouthful!", and I had a feeling it might generate a question even as I wrote it!

What I was expressing was enthusiastic agreement, as in "That is SOOO true!", or "Isn't THAT the truth?!"

It's more slangy than "Yes, indeed. I quite agree."

CJ
Wow! I never knew I had a desire for a situation in which "pragmatically infelicitous" would be an appropriate utterance, but now that you're written it, I'm consumed with envy!! (Or at least admiration!)
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Thank you. Thank you. (Icon for bowing)

Actually, it's just a technical term used in pragmatics - the study of the use of language within particular social situations.

Example: "You may leave now," said the peasant to the king.

The social and situational relationships are totally wrong for this sentence to make sense.

Other cases:

Speaking to a child sitting at the table, eating: "Come to the table and eat right this minute!"
Speaking to someone smoking: "Have that cigarette!"
Speaking to someone who has just beaten you up: "Thank you!"

Such usages are called "infelicitous". Linguists have been able to list many conditions which must apply for a sentence to make pragmatic sense within a given social or situational context. The technical term for these conditions is "felicity conditions".

Emotion: geeked

CJ
That's interesting. I hope they offer that in univeristy.
Linguists have been able to list many conditions which must apply for a sentence to make pragmatic sense within a given social or situational context. The technical term for these conditions is "felicity conditions".

Well, many felicitations to you then. Your knowledge of linguistics is so cool! I only scratched the surface with a couple survey classes as an undergraduate. Sometimes I wish I had a giant "do over" coupon that I could cash in and go back and really study it.
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