Pragmatics: Part 2

Last week we discussed the ins and outs of pragmatics, or the social use of language. Pragmatic skills come more or less naturally to the majority of people. However, certain types of disorders and injuries can make it difficult to navigate the social rules of language.

In our previous blog, we discussed the first two aspects of pragmatics: language use, and changing language to fit the particular situation. A third facet of pragmatics is the knowledge of and ability to follow the rules that govern conversation and language in social interaction. To most people, these rules are learned as naturally as language itself. However, certain disorders and injuries can impact pragmatic skills. The rules of conversation and communication cover a wide range of behaviors including turn taking, topic introduction and maintenance, repairing communication breakdowns, how close to stand to someone you’re talking to, and using and understanding non-verbal cues such as facial expression and eye contact. The exact parameters of these rules can vary based on culture.

A speech-language pathologist can help a person with pragmatic difficulties learn the rules of social language use, and put them into practice. The speech therapist will identify the aspects of conversation that are of most difficulty for the client, and tailor an individual therapy plan. Speech-language therapy targeting pragmatics can use a range of techniques from direct instruction to role-playing and social games. With the assistance of a professional speech-language pathologist, a person with pragmatic issues can learn to successfully use the rules of conversation and greatly improve their communicative skills.

Do you think that you or someone you know may benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist? Contact Speech Associates of New York at 917-841-2965 or visit us on the web at We’ll pair you with one of our trained and certified speech-language pathologists who can provide in-home therapy to help address your speech, language, and communication needs.

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