Single Pract, Multiple Pragmemes: Representation of Individual-Social Context in a Sample Request-Response Adjacency


  • Chinwe Ezeifeka Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
  • Uche Oboko Madonna University, Nigeria


Pragmeme, Pragmatic acts theory, Social context, Private context, Request-response, Adjacency pair


This paper appraises a sample request-response adjacency in a conversation between two friends with particular focus on how the response pract represents the individual-social context of the interlocutors. It argues that unlike what has been indicated in literature regarding pragmemes as a general situational prototype; a sociocultural concept that usually has several realizations as practs and allopracts, a single pract can also call to mind multiple possible pragmemes in the situated context in which it could be appropriately uttered. Using Mey’s (2001) pragmatic acts theory (PAT) and his theory of the pragmeme as action-theoretic pragmatics, this paper elucidates how a single response utterance can represent multiple situational prototypes and hence, construe diverse interpretations that are contextually relevant to the individual speakers’ interactional goals and the “scenes” the interactants identify with as well as the affordances and limitations of the context that are cognitively plausible and cooperative for the interactants.  The paper also argues that the interface between meaning construction and comprehension is not only based on the general social context but also on the dialectical interaction of the individual speaker and hearer’s private contexts as well as features that are salient to their conversational goals which determine how they design their utterances for their interlocutors. The paper concludes that pragmemes of refusal, rejection, invitation, promise, warning among others have been instantiated in a single response pract and these findings seem to go beyond Searle’s conceptualization of indirect speech acts as well as Mey’s perspective on the theory of the pragmeme.




How to Cite

Ezeifeka, C., & Oboko, U. (2024). Single Pract, Multiple Pragmemes: Representation of Individual-Social Context in a Sample Request-Response Adjacency. RESEARCH IN PRAGMATICS, 3(3), 75–94. Retrieved from