Presuppositional Skills Proxemics Cooperative Principle English Language Essay

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The study of pragmatics, in itself, requires an extensive foundation of knowledge about namely: language; linguistic pragmatics; pragmatics theory; discourse and conversation; cognitive theory; neuro-linguistics and anatomy; and the philosophy of language; and that knowledge from a wide compass is essential to be able to evaluate and assess a pragmatic diagnosis.

Pragmatics basically involves the study of the use of language through a particular context. There is whole difference between what needs to be communicated and what a person actually says. The difference lies mainly in the context of where the conversation is taking place - whether the speaker is taking to a child or to an adult audience and also whether the speaker is giving background information as a tour guide regarding some historical place or whether he is in the classroom as a teacher; the identity of the speaker; the speaker's sole intention - the meaning the speaker expects to put forward by what he says; and the pre-existing knowledge of the listener and speaker.

Pragmatics is an important and crucial part of language and communication just like semantics. However the pragmatic meaning, unlike in semantics depends on the context, where the conversation is happening amongst other factors which will be mentioned further on. Pragmatic meaning takes into account a person's knowledge of the physical and social world.

Pragmatic's context involves the particular location, time and circumstance in which the utterance is being expressed by the speaker to the listener. While semantic is context independent, in pragmatics a linguistic unit is sensitive to context - context dependent.

Although pragmatics involves the study of speech acts and the contexts in which they occur, the field is characterized so broadly that it is not clear what it is intended to exclude. When expanded the notion of context includes cognitive, linguistic, temporal, semantic and communicative factors:

"The various properties of the context in which the act is performed include the intentions of the speaker, the knowledge, beliefs, expectations or interests of the speaker and his audience, other speech acts that have been performed in the same context, the time of utterance, the truth value of the proposition expressed, the semantic relations between the proposition expressed and some others involved in some way."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14010063/Cummings-2007clinical-Pragmatics

Speech Act

Pragmatics involves the application of the semantic knowledge stored within a context of a speech act, taking place between two persons carrying out opposite roles, one as a speaker and one a listener. It was J. L. Austin who in 1962 came up with the idea of the speech act as being a type of "linguistic communication in a process between a speaker and a hearer" and that "the act of doing or performing the speech act accomplished more than the words alone or together could mean". (Lucas, 1980)

Austin divided the act in three stages: the locutionary act - the performance of an utterance of words: the actual utterance and its apparent meaning together with the content; the illocutionary act - the pragmatic 'illocutionary force' of the utterance, the speaker's intention based on context, the performance aspect of the act, such as commanding( known as performatives); and the perlocutionary act - being the actual effect of the uterrance on the listener, such as persuading, convincing, scaring, enlightening, inspiring, or otherwise getting someone to do or realize something, whether intended or not. 

The speech act is the basic unit of pragmatics when compared with a morpheme in semantics. Basically, every utterance is a speech act and is performed by the speaker, which in itself involves an action through utterances of words and sentences whose main aim of the speaker is for the listener to understand the intention in it. Moreover the lexemes making up the utterance can make it either a formal or informal; direct or indirect one.

 

Importance of Pragmatics

Pragmatics is defined as the set of rules governing conversation and the social use of language. This can include using polite words instead of demanding an action, learning how to express feelings.  It also aids in deciphering the true feelings behind what others are saying. Now most people do not think about the social rules of a society when they communicate with other people. 

Eye contact and other such pragmatic expressions, together with saying 'please' and 'thank you' occur naturally to most people. However autistic persons do not unconsciously have the knowledge of such actions.  People with autism may lack eye contact, or change the subject of a particular dialogue quickly without the listener following. Pragmatics is the area in which autistic persons suffer most in terms of communication such that the diagnosis for such persons revolves around pragmatics. Some markers that were found in Autistic Spectrum Disorder include:

Difficulties in the use of various nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction.

Failure to develop proper peer relationships.

A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.

Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/m/s/msc233/csd300/importance.htm

Clinical Pragmatics

Pragmatic impairments are distinguished from other communication problems, such as stuttering and vocal disorders. Such disorders often accompany problems in other areas, and may be obscured by language disorders. For example, a client who lacks the language skills to decode an utterance may appear unable to recover implicature from it.

Pragmatic disorders may be developmental (appear as the individual develops) or acquired (appear as the result of injury, etc.). A number of common pragmatic deficits occur in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism-related disorders, Down's Syndrome, specific language impairment and aphasia, among many other.

However, even though pragmatic behavior includes communicating about psychological conditions within sender and receiver, it is not the issue that every case in particular is naturally pragmatic. Therefore, a thorough clinical analysis must have the basis of a flawless clear cut of what is language, that is; the interpreting of syntax and diction, and what can be defined as naturally pragmatic.

Misconstrue in the diagnosis of clinical patients by therapists is the result of a failure in capturing the context when evaluating the responses of patients. In many studies the concept of 'context' is taken as a given, a unit entity, a known or predictable formulation that can be named, that is, researchers point to a sequence of utterances and declare what 'the context' for the utterance in question is, or set up a test question based on an assumed idea of 'the context'. However, this approach does not recognize that the factors that can contribute to context are individual and virtually limitless.

http://hss.fullerton.edu/linguistics/cln/W10PDF/ClinPrag.pdf

Although pragmatics involves the study of speech acts and the contexts in which they occur, the field is characterised so broadly that it is not clear what it is intended to exclude. When expanded the notion of context includes cognitive, linguistic, temporal, semantic and communicative factors:

"The various properties of the context in which the act is performed include the intentions of the speaker, the knowledge, beliefs, expectations or interests of the speaker and his audience, other speech acts that have been performed in the same context, the time of utterance, the truth value of the proposition expressed, the semantic relations between the proposition expressed and some others involved in some way."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14010063/Cummings-2007clinical-Pragmatics

Pragmatic Language Assessment

The assessment that clinicians carry out in evaluating and assessing the level of pragmatics skills in a patient are different from those used to assess other aspects of language such as semantics. Pragmatic assessment involves a number of techniques differing from conversation analysis and narrative assessment to the use of communication checklists and pragmatic profiles, each of which can be used to identify particular pragmatic disorders.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/14010063/Cummings-2007clinical-Pragmatics

Pragmatics Disorders

The following are two cases of different etiologies, one of a severe aphasic person and the other of a language-deprived adult, such as to outline the importance of pragmatics as a vital part of social interaction and communication and the pragmatic competence in the virtual absence of verbal language.

Case 1: Severe Aphasia

Patient X who had a normal life, worked as a Navy Officer for many years, and had good education and English as his native language at one point in time suffered from cerebral artery infarction which left him with dysarthria, apraxia of speech and severe Broca's aphasia. X's speech was very poor, but had single word and simple sentence understanding. His writing was too limited to his full name and samples, and reading severely impaired. Also, his speech acts is reduced greatly resulting in the partner having to carry the conversation.

However X's non verbal aspects are perfectly normal - using gestures, facial expressions, and intonational variations in his utterances to respond, assert, disagree and comment. To maintain a conversation he uses these facial expressions, intonations and by nodding and using gestures. Although it is difficult for X to initiate and change a particular topic he has excellent pragmatic abilities and by using turn taking, stylistic variations and non verbal skills he remains part of the conversation.

Case 2: Language-Deprived

Patient Y was born with a severe sensori-neural hearing loss but was misdiagnosed as mentally retarded during her childhood. Her mother knew her to be deaf, so she raised her at home with her sisters. She learned to cook and several other things and even helped her mother to raise her young sisters. Y was then denied school education and even entry to a school for the deaf until she was an adult, when a social worker realized her situation and referred her to a speech therapist and neurologist.

Y then began an intensive program of oral and signed language instruction as well as education in math and other subjects. She has developed quite normal pragmatic abilities: a variety of speech acts; responding and commenting; and initiating questions. Y also nods and gestures appropriately, awaits her turn and also adjusts her speech by using normal intensity, vocal quality and rate. She makes use of physical contact, body posture, facial expressions and eye gaze in a

conversation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatic_language_impairment

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