Pragmatics is a discipline within linguistics that deals with the meaning of a spoken or written utterance. It is also the study of how language is used in social and natural contexts. The concept of pragmatics was developed in the late 18th century in Britain and France.
Pragmatics has been studied in many different fields. Linguists have studied the use of words, sentence structure, grammar, and syntax in a variety of contexts. In the same way that an engineer tries to design a structure that is appropriate for a particular situation, pragmatics tries to understand the relationship between a linguistic unit and a human being.
A recent study looked at the pragmatic abilities of children with cochlear implants. They found that while children with CI may have some pragmatic skills, they did not perform as well as hearing children on a pragmatic test. This was the result of a series of surveys, which measured the ability of children to engage in conversation and understand the social implications of using language in a meaningful way.
Among the most interesting findings was that children with CI had a significant difference in their ability to ask for, give, and respond to information. As with most other areas of a child’s life, children with CI have to learn the skills and strategies to communicate effectively. These include the ability to understand and act on social norms and to behave in ways that others will understand and appreciate.
The pragmatic abilities of children with CI were compared to those of children with HL. This was done with a questionnaire called the Pragmatics Profile from the CELF-IV battery. The questionnaire includes 50 statements and is designed to assess children between the ages of three and nine. Researchers then performed statistical analyses to determine whether there were any significant differences between the groups. All data was checked for normality and the effect size was tested with a Student’s t-test.
Some of the most important pragmatic skills are the ability to understand social norms and how to use language in the most appropriate way. Children with CI have access to special education programs, but may have less opportunities to discuss with hearing adults and practice their communication skills. Using visual supports can help these children practice their skills. For example, if a child is in class and is asked a question, they might raise their hand instead of shouting.
Another area of pragmatism is the use of sign language. Typically, signs are ambiguous in nature. However, they are also useful in a number of circumstances. Taking the time to understand and explain what a sign means can lead to better understanding of others’ intentions.
Pragmatics is a complex and multidisciplinary study. There are several sub-areas, such as semantics, syntax, and intercultural pragmatics. Those wishing to conduct research on the subject will need to keep in mind that the most relevant studies will probably focus on people with disabilities or those who are deaf.