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Slide 1

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Pragmatic development
Pragmatics = area of language that studies the
relationship between what we say and what we mean.
Involves four main concepts ­ implicature (when a
meaning is expressed indirectly); inference (when
meaning is drawn from others' speech); politeness
(use of politeness features like modal auxiliary verbs)
Pragmatics has to be taught.…read more

Slide 2

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How does pragmatic awareness develop?
· When children begin to understand the way the
world works.
· Need to have a sound understanding on context
so meaning can be drawn out. E.g. If someone
asks `where is the post office?' and receives the
response `it's Sunday' to a child who doesn't know
that the post office is shut on Sundays, this may
be puzzling.
· When we begin to see how language gets us what
we want.
· Even children with an excellent grasp of
phonology, lexis and semantics and morphology
find pragmatics bewildering, even at ages such as
7/8.…read more

Slide 3

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Michael Halliday's taxonomy ­ the
functions of children's language:
· Instrumental ­ when language is used to express their needs ­
e.g. `want juice'.
· Regulatory ­ where language is used to tell others what to do
­ e.g. `go away'.
· Interactional ­ language that is used to make contact and
form relationships with others ­ e.g. `I love you mummy'.
· Personal ­ using language to express feelings, opinions and
individual identity ­ e.g. `me good girl'.
· Heuristic ­ when language is used to gain knowledge about
the environment ­ e.g. `what the tractor doing?'.
· Imaginative ­ language used to tell stories and jokes and
create an imaginary environment ­ e.g. `your the mummy, and
I'm the daddy' (whilst playing a game).
· Representational ­ using language to convey facts and
information ­ e.g. `I'm three'.…read more

Slide 4

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· As children get older, their parents and carers are less likely
to respond to them if they make blunt and apparent `rude'
· They expect children to recognise rules of politeness ­ e.g.
`you can't have one until you say please'.
· There is no gene for politeness or sarcasm ­ has to be
taught through interaction with others ­ not just about
saying `please' and `thank you' about shaping your
language so you don't impose on others and to make them
feel good about themselves.
· Brown and Levinson's politeness model puts forward ideas
of both positive and negative politeness.
· Politeness skills are gradually acquired to greater of lesser
extents depending on the child, their environment and the
context in which they are using language.…read more


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