What is pragmatics?

A Definition of Pragmatics

  • the study of the practical aspects of human action and thought.
  • the study of the use of linguistic signs, words and sentences, in actual situations.[1]
  • Pragmatics outlines the study of meaning in the interactional context

  • It looks beyond the literal meaning of an utterance and considers how meaning is constructed as well as focusing on implied meanings. It considers language as an instrument of interaction, what people mean when they use language and how we communicate and understand each other.
  • Jenny Thomas[2] says that pragmatics considers:
  • the negotiation of meaning between speaker and listener.
  • the context of the utterance.
  • the meaning potential of an utterance.
  • What would happen to language if Pragmatics did not exist?

  • Pragmatics acts as the basis for all language interactions and contact. It is a key feature to the understanding of language and the responses that follow this. Therefore, without the fucntion of Pragmatics, there would be very little understanding of intention and meaning.
  • We would like to demonstrate this by showing you how life would be WITHOUT Pragmatics:
  • ‘Can you pass the salt?’Literal Meaning: Are you physically able to do this task?
    Literal Response: ‘Yes’

    (Pragmatic Meaning: Will you pass me the salt?
    Pragmtic Response: pass the salt to the speaker.)

    ‘What time do you call this?’

    Literal Meaning: What time is it?
    Literal Response: A time (e.g. ‘twenty to one.’)

    (Pragmatic Meaning: a different question entirely, e.g. Why are you so late?
    Pragmatic Response: Explain the reason for being so late.)

Is your missus up the duff mate 


phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

Home button Home Search the phrases.org.uk website Search | Phrase Dictionary | Up the duff

The meaning and origin of the expression: Up the duff

Browse phrases beginning with:



Up the duff


Euphemism for pregnant. Used most commonly, although not exclusively, to describe unplanned pregnancy.


The phrase doesn’t appear in print until 1941, in Sydney John Baker’s Dictionary of Australian Slang:

“Duff, up the (of a woman), pregnant.”

Duff isn’t a common word and seems an odd choice for a colloquial phrase. It took a rather roundabout route…

Left quote icon
‘Up the duff’ is one of the many euphemisms for pregnant.
right quote
As the phrase means pregnant it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that for the origin we need look no further than the penis. As with many English phrases that refer to sexual activity we dive straight into a world of euphemism and there are several obscuring layers here between penis and pregnancy.

One of the numerous slang terms for the sexual organs, or more commonly specifically the penis, is pudding. This has a long history, going back to at least the 18th century, as here from Thomas D’Urfey’s, Wit and mirth: or pills to purge melancholy, being a collection of ballads and songs, 1719:

“I made a request to prepare again, That I might continue in Love with the strain Of his Pudding”.

A slang term for male masturbation, which leaves little to the imagination – ‘pull one’s pudding‘, has been known since at least the 19th century.

There is a related phrase for pregnancy – ‘in the pudding club‘, and it turns out that this and ‘up the duff‘ are essentially the same phrase. By 1890, Barrère & Leland, in their Dictionary of Slang, defined the term pudding club:

“A woman in the family way is said to be in the pudding club.”

Note that in those Victorian times the definition of a euphemistic term for pregnancy relied on another euphemism.

Dough is another word for pudding and duff is an alternative form and pronunciation of dough. That was in use by 1840, as here from R. H. Dana in Before the Mast:

“To enhance the value of the Sabbath to the crew, they are allowed on that day a pudding, or, as it is called, a ‘duff’.”

So, we travel this route – (up the) duff -> dough -> pudding -> penis -> pregnant.

The more recent ‘bun in the oven‘, another slang phrase for pregnant, may originate this way too.




Order of Operations

Problem: Evaluate the following arithmetic expression:

3 + 4 x 2


It seems that each student interpreted the problem differently, resulting in two different answers. Student 1 performed the operation of addition first, then multiplication; whereas student 2 performed multiplication first, then addition. When performing arithmetic operations there can be only one correct answer. We need a set of rules in order to avoid this kind of confusion. Mathematicians have devised a standard order of operations for calculations involving more than one arithmetic operation.

Rule 1: First perform any calculations inside parentheses.

Rule 2: Next perform all multiplications and divisions, working from left to right.

Rule 3: Lastly, perform all additions and subtractions, working from left to right.

The above problem was solved correctly by Student 2 since she followed Rules 2 and 3. Let’s look at some examples of solving arithmetic expressions using these rules.

Irma strengthens when it closes on Florida

Wind gusts close to hurricane force are battering islands in Florida’s south as Hurricane Irma is due to hit the mainland in the coming hours.

Water levels are already rising on the coast of the US state where a huge storm surge isexpected.Some 6.3 million people had been told to evacuate, but the state governor said on Saturday it was now too late to leave for anyone remaining. At least 24 people have died after Irma earlier hit several Caribbean islands. With maximum sustained winds of 120mph (193km/h), Irma hurricane has now weakened to a category three hurricane after making landfall in Cuba’s north-east late on Friday, the National Hurricane Center(NHC) says in its latest advisory at 03:00 GMT on Sunday. But Irma is expected to strengthen and will remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida, the NHC says. It warns that a “life-threatening storm surge” is expected in the Florida Keys – a chain of small islands in Florida’s south – and also thewest coast of Florida. Staying behind is ‘almost like suicide’

‘I have never been so scared in my life’

The deadly danger from Miami’s cranes

Hurricane Irma: A visual guide

Irma strengthens when it closes on Florida

Live Updates: Hurricane Irma forces millions to evacuate

Irma’s battering of Florida started Saturday morning as bands of tropical storm-force winds reached South Florida and the spindly Keys braced for a potentially catastrophic direct hit Sunday.


Here’s what we know:


We all want great abs! Abdominals have come to be the center piece of the physique, a real show piece. Both men and women have ‘great abs’ or ‘6-pack’ on their goal lists. Nothing is more appealing than a healthy and fit body with a nicely trimmed waist. The important key for anybody to realize is that everyone has abdominals, they are simply covered in fat and need toning. Now, I must point out that you cannot spot reduce fat from your abdominal region; when you lose fat, it is lost equally throughout your entire body. However, you can encourage this fat loss process by exercising the abdominals regularly. It is essential to take into consideration that to have a complete abdominal development, you must train all the four areas of the abdominal region equally. The hardest area to see progress in are the lower abdominals, but this is only due to the fact that more fat is stored there than in the other areas.

Anatomy and Benefits

The abdomen, or abdominal region is actually composed of 6 muscle groups that are located and attached from the ribs to the pelvis region. These are referred to as the core region and are responsible for moving, flexing and supporting the trunk areas. Amongst the benefit of having a slim torso, having strong abdominal and core muscles reduces lower back pain an aches and increases stability to your torso.

Exercise Basics

The abdominals are a stubborn muscle to train; moreover, due to the quick build up of lactic acid (burning feeling) during the exercises, most people avoid training them. It will be noted that all areas of the abdominal area must be trained to achieve fully developed the abs. The upper abs, lower abs, and middle abs along with the obliques must all be trained with various exercises. You do not need to train all four areas every single abdominal training session; however do not favor one area to another unless it is and area which is under developed. The proper way to train abdominals is with slow repetitions along with a controlled, strict range of motion. A true set of abdominals should only be between 12 to 15 repetitions, unless you are advanced and perform up to 20. If you are past this repetition range of 20, you are not training your abdominals effectively.You will notice this with individuals performing abdominal exercises of repetitions ranging from 50 and above; secondary muscles are applied. Abdominals recover quickly, so they may be trained every other day, perhaps every day by advanced individuals. Breathing air in and blowing it out is very important to the contraction and stretching of the abdominals during the exercises. As you contract your abdominal muscles, you need to blow out your air and contract, then when you release and stretch out, you need to breath air in. Performing this correctly will lead to results!

Game of Thrones, episode 7 review -The Dragon and the Wolf: betrayal, nudity, and game-changing twists

A fully operational Ice Dragon, Littlefinger bloodily hoisted on the sharp end of his own machinations, a hastily-undressed Jon and Daenerys rocking the boat… The longest Game Of Thrones episode yet was also among the most breathtaking and incident-packed.

At the end of a spectacular yet uneven season, The Dragon and the Wolf was also a stirring return to Westeros’ first principles as the Hollywood bombast of recent weeks was replaced by a solid 80 minutes of betrayal, nudity and skulduggery in dimly-lit rooms. Not that it had ever truly been away but it was good to welcome the old, happy-stabby Game of Thrones back with a vengeful gleam in its eyes.

Matthew VanDyke: US citizen held in Libya emerges on Syria’s frontline

An American who fought alongside Libyan rebels, and who was detained in Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison for six months before returning home to Baltimore in late 2011, has turned up on the frontline of the uprising in Syria.

Matthew VanDyke said that he was in Aleppo to film a documentary alongside the Syrian rebel army. But he claims he is also advising the rebels on weaponry based on his experience in Libya.

“I go to sleep and wake up to the sound of artillery shells, and Assad’s jets flying overhead and bombing the city,” VanDyke, 33, wrote in the first of a series of emails with the Guardian. “Most of these booms signal the death of more civilians in Aleppo.”

VanDyke claims to be a journalist-turned-freedom-fighter-turned documentarian, but others accuse him of being a misguided thrillseeker who repeatedly puts himself at risk.

He insisted that he understood the dangers of being in Syria but said the viral potential of the documentary made it worth the risk.

VanDyke has an acute interest in using social media to promote his project – in fact, one of his first check-ins after arriving in Syria on 17 October was with friends on Facebook.

“You see a baby without a head brought to the hospital in Aleppo, and you want to put down the camera and take a gun to the front line,” VanDyke posted, just hours after arriving in Syria with the help of a Washington-based Syrian support group.

He claimed that he had already been asked to fight on behalf of the Free Syrian Army, but said he had promised himself and others that he was only there to film until “next time”.

He said he was also offering advice on weaponry, including the anti-aircraft Dushka machine guns he used while fighting in Libya, though that claim has been questioned by people who know him and who have spent time on the ground in Syria.

VanDyke said he was hoping the finished documentary would go viral, and compares the payoff of risking his life to what could happen if the video receives the same sort of attention that the Kony 2012 Invisible Children documentary did. That video, which called for justice for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, logged over 91 million views by summer 2012, despite the fact that Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army had been pushed out of the country by Ugandan forces years earlier.

VanDyke hints that the media attention around his disappearance and Libya will bring his project into the spotlight.

“I am friends with many journalists; the media likes me,” VanDyke wrote. “I can bring a unique angle to the 19-month-old Syria story that will attract a whole new audience of people to care about Syria and donate money to the rebels – and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure it goes viral and gets those men on the front lines in Syria the weapons and ammo they need.”

VanDyke says he feels that a project like his is needed, because the US hasn’t done enough to bring attention to what is happening.

“Syrians feel abandoned by America, and cannot understand why they aren’t being helped like the Libyans,” VanDyke wrote.

Besides Facebook and blogging on his website, there are few social media channels VanDyke hasn’t tried in order to get the word out about his project.

Aleppo, Syria
 ‘Syrians cannot understand why they aren’t being helped like the Libyans.’ Photograph: Matthew VanDyke

His Kickstarter page promoting the documentary, entitled ‘This is your chance to become part of the Arab Spring,’ offered autographed 8×10 photos for supporters who pledged $50 more. In the end, the Kickstarter project drew 60 backers and logged $15,135 of its $19,500 goal before it was suspended by the site in August. Kickstarter never gave a specific reason for the suspension, but the site’s terms of service includes suspending pages that support a charity or are associated with high-risk activity. Still he has pressed on. His teaser for the documentary, posted on YouTube, shows VanDyke walking around the cell in Abu Salim prison, where he was, unbeknownst to friends, relatives and the human rights agencies who searched for him, as well as firing weapons alongside Libyan rebels and dancing while holding a machine guns, shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

The Georgetown graduate and self-described former “spoiled brat” says the deepest friendships he made and maintained were with people in Libya. In 2011, he said couldn’t sit and watch as rebel forces bloodily clashed with forces loyal to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. So he went.

Days after arriving, VanDyke was captured and imprisoned. He was only able to escape six months later when Tripoli was liberated by rebels.

Along with the US State Department and Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which was concerned that a reporter may have been captured while carrying out his work, tried to confirm VanDyke’s whereabouts while he was missing.

“Pretending to be a journalist in a war zone is not a casual deception,” Joel Simon, the organization’s executive director, wrote about VanDyke in November 2011. “It’s a reckless and irresponsible act that greatly increases the risk for reporters covering conflict.”

The US State Department did not respond to a request from The Guardian for comment about his appearance in Syria.

VanDyke said he never called himself a journalist, and if his documentary teaser is any indication, he had never maintained any journalistic distance between himself and the rebels.

“‘Journalist’ was a label created by the press to describe me when I was missing in a Libyan prison,” VanDye wrote, “and I have been arguing with the media ever since to stop using that word to describe me.”

VanDyke added that he was clearly marking himself as a member of the rebel army this time, a move he says was done to protect journalists.

“If I am captured I will be tortured and imprisoned for life, or quietly executed.”

For now, VanDyke will wake up to the sound of artillery shells striking Aleppo, a scene he describes as a strange mix of slaughter and destruction. He says he understands the dangers associated with his time in Syria. To him, the viral potential of his project trumps the risk.

“Syria is by far the most dangerous place I have ever filmed. I wouldn’t be here just making a film this time if I wasn’t certain that the film was needed and had the potential to make a tangible impact on the war.”

 This article was amended on 25 January 2013 to remove a sentence that said “some people who searched for VanDyke in Libya said that he claimed to be a journalist in order to save his own life”. In addition the following sentence has been edited to make clear the CPJ wanted to establish his whereabouts because the organisation was concerned that a journalist had gone missing.


Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: