The Importance of Pragmatic Language

Pragmatic language skills are critical to understanding the world around us and are a foundation of effective communication. These skills allow children to adapt their behavior when interacting with others and follow social norms.

The skills involved in pragmatic language include using a conversational tone, speaking clearly, responding to questions and making decisions. They also help kids understand their own actions and what they mean.

Some of the basic principles of pragmatics are known as the Gricean maxims, which were authored by philosopher Paul Grice. The Gricean maxims are: Be concise, be truthful, be relevant, and be clear.

These four principles form the core of everyday pragmatics, and are important in learning how to communicate effectively with others. They were first outlined by the late philosopher of language, Paul Grice.

Pragmatics originated in the United States in the 1870s and has become a third alternative to analytic and ‘Continental’ philosophical traditions worldwide. Its first generation, which included Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, focused significantly on theorising inquiry, meaning and the nature of truth. But a second (still called the ‘classical’) generation turned pragmatist philosophy more explicitly towards politics, education and other dimensions of social improvement. These ideas were popularised by John Dewey (1859-1952) and his friend Jane Addams, who invented the profession of social work.