Pragmatic Analysis of Seinfeld's the Contest

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Materia
Lingüística

Paper

Pragmatic Analysis of
Seinfeld
“The Contest”

Alumno: Juan Wickenhagen
Profesora: Karen De Francesco

CAFI
2012

Index

Abstract……………………………………………………2
Introduction………………………………………………..3
Corpus……………………………………………………..4
Conclusion……………………………………………….16
Bibliography……………………………………………...17
Annex:
Seinfeld “The Contest” : Full Synopsis………………..18

Abstract

This paper focuses on the pragmatic analysis of an episode of the American sitcom “Seinfeld” called “The Contest”. In order to carry out the work several fragments were selected from the episode’s script, which were analyzed using as theoretical framework the concepts taken from the book “Pragmatics” by George Yule. The interactions of those
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You could sell out Madison Square Garden. Thousands of people could watch you! You could be a big star!
On the other hand, the use of anaphoric reference is mainly used to refer to George’s mother since she becomes the starting point of the plot’s dramatic action when George confess to his friends that his mother had “caught” him. There are many examples as regards that in the first part of the episode:
JERRY: So, what did she do?
GEORGE: First she screams, "George, what are you doing?! My God!"(…)
ELAINE: (Wide-eyed) So, she fell?
ELAINE: (Between chuckles) How is she?
GEORGE: (Somewhat angered) She's in traction.

Inclusive and Exclusive we
In this passage, Jerry uses the so-called “exclusive we” (speaker plus other(s), excluding addressee) to state the differences between men and women as regards masturbation:
JERRY: We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle. It's like, uh…shaving.
Both “we” in this sentence refer to “men” or “men’s world” as a way of keeping Elaine, the only woman in the group of friends, out of the contest.
Yet later on in the story, Jerry uses what Yules calls “inclusive we” (speaker and addressee included) to include Elaine in the bet, and after “they” (men) allowed her to compete in such a contest:
JERRY: Well, obviously, we all know each other very well, (Elaine slightly laughs) I'm sure that we'll all feel comfortable within the confines of the honor system.
Both “we” in this sentence do not refer to men

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