Pragmatics (CLA)

Revision cards about developing pragmatics, with theorists.

HideShow resource information

Aspects of Pragmatics

  • Good pragmatics are essential to communicative competence
  • Implicature - what we mean underneath what we say
  • Inference - interpreting others' implicature
  • Politeness - adapting speech to be polite in a situation
  • Conversation management and turn-taking - knowing when to speak (or not) 
1 of 6

Michael Halliday's Taxonomy

  • 7 categories explaining why children say things.
  • Instrumental - to fulfil a need - e.g. 'want milk' 
  • Regulatory - to influence the behaviour of others - e.g. 'pick up' 
  • Interactional - to develop and maintain social relationships - e.g. 'love you'
  • Personal - to convey opinions, ideas and personal identity - e.g. 'me like Charlie and Lola'
  • Representational - to convey facts or information - e.g. 'it hot
  • Imaginative - to create an imaginary world, primarily seen in play - e.g. 'me shopkeeper' 
  • Heuristic - to learn about the environment - e.g. 'wassat?
2 of 6

John Dore's Language Functions

  • focus more on speech acts as individual utterances rather then Halliday's broader approach. 
  • Labelling - naming a person, object or thing
  • Repeating - repeating an adult word or utterance
  • Answering - responding to another speaker
  • Requesting action - asking for somthing to be done for them 
  • Calling - getting someone's attention by shouting
  • Greeting - greeting a person or thing
  • Protesting - objecting to someone else's requests
  • Practising - using language when no adult is present. 

(Piaget used the phrase 'egocentric speech' to describe children speaking when alone, and said it was their way of classifying their experiences and environment. This is the equivalent to Dore's 'practising' category.)

3 of 6


  • Includes turn-taking, face theory and is essential to comunicative competence.
  • 'Please' and 'thank you' are often in children's frst 50 words. 
4 of 6

Brown and Levinson Face Theory

  • Positive face - observing an individual's desire to be approved of and to be included.
  • Negative face - observing an individual's need to be independent and make their own decision, NOT to be imposed on. 
  • Both positive and negative face needs can be observed or denied.
  • Observing both is the politest way of communicating. 
5 of 6

Using Pragmatic Theory

  • Relies heavily on contextual understanding to be applied accurately
  • Pragmatic development ties closely to social interaction - so can link it with Piaget and Skinner
  • Pragmatics is often learned from others - so can link it to Child Directed Speech or Vygotsky.
  • Analysing politeness is a good way of linking your points to context, since it relies on context. 
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language resources:

See all English Language resources »See all Child language acquisition resources »