What do people do when using language? How exactly is meaning generated when we communicate? And why do we say one thing when we usually mean another? Examining the mental and social processes involved in communication through language, Understanding Pragmatics is a comprehensive introduction to the subject. This book provides an outline of the theoretical basis of pragmatics, examines its major theoretical perspectives and explores its methodological issues. Looking at pragmatics in its broadest sense, it covers the whole range of social, cultural and cognitive aspects in constructing meaning through language use. Assuming no background in pragmatics, the text provides helpful chapter-by-chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and research topics for further study.