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PRAGMATICS The appropriate use of language in context Presenters: Christina Auth & Jerry Smith Tina.

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1 PRAGMATICS The appropriate use of language in context Presenters: Christina Auth & Jerry Smith Tina

2 Pragmatics can be more specifically defined as conventions that govern language within social interactions (Fujiki & Brinton). It involves three major communication skills: 1. Using language for different purposes. 2. Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation. 3. Following rules for conversations and storytelling. Tina

3 Using language for different purposes: ■ greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye) ■ informing (e.g., I'm going to get a cookie) ■ demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie) ■ promising (e.g., I'm going to get you a cookie) ■ requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please) Tina

4 Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation: ■talking differently to a baby than to an adult ■giving background information to an unfamiliar listener ■speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground Tina

5 Following rules for conversations and storytelling: ■taking turns in conversation ■introducing topics of conversation ■staying on topic ■rephrasing when misunderstood ■how to use verbal and nonverbal signals ■how close to stand to someone when speaking ■how to use facial expressions and eye contact Tina

6 Aspect of pragmatics: Deixis Phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words or phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Origin of word: deixis is Greek meaning “display, demonstration, or reference”. Jerry

7 Types of deixis/ categories of contextual information: 1. Person deixis 2. Place deixis 3. Time deixis Jerry

8 Person deixis- persons involved in an utterance including: -those directly involved (speaker and listener) -those not directly involved but who overhear the utterance -those mentioned in the utterance *Pronouns used to indicate the distinctions. Jerry

9 Examples of person deictic terms (pronouns) in italics: Activity: To whom do they refer? (Speaker, listener, person/s overhearing, person/s mentioned) I am going to the movies. Would you like to have dinner? They tried to hurt me, but he came to the rescue. Jerry

10 Place deixis- spacial locations relevant to the location of the speaker of an utterance unless otherwise specified. Common examples including: Adverbs such as “here” and “there” Demonstrative articles such as “this”, “that”, “these”, and “those” I enjoy living in this city. Here is where we will place the statue. She was sitting over there. Jerry

11 Time deixis- various times involved in and referred to in an utterance Relative to when the utterance is made. Includes adverbs such as “now” and “later” as well as verb tenses. Examples: It is raining now. Tomorrow it will be sunny. Jerry

12 Herbert Paul Grice- one of the founders of the modern study of pragmatics. Grice was born in Birmingham, England March 13, 1913 and died in Berkeley, California August 28, Publishes under the name H. Paul Grice. British-educated philosopher of language who was a professor at Oxford until 1967 and then moved to the United States and was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Tina

13 Grice explained nonliteral speech as the outcome of a “cooperative principle”, a description of how people normally behave in conversation. Cooperative Principle: “Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged” (Grice, p. 26) To converse in accordance with the “cooperative principle”, one must follow 4 Maxims (Gricean Maxims) and their submaxims. Tina

14 Maxim of Quality: Truth Do not say what you believe to be false. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. HO/Maxim%20of%20Quality.pdf Tina

15 Maxim of Quantity: Information Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange). Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. HO/Maxim%20of%20Quantity.pdf Tina

16 Maxim of Relation: Relevance Be relevant. HO/Maxim%20of%20Relation.pdf Tina

17 Maxim of Manner: Clarity Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. Be brief. Be orderly. HO/Maxim%20of%20Manner.pdf Tina

18 Activity: Read the examples of discourse on index cards at your table and discuss which of Grice’s maxims are violated and how and share. 1. Example from Exercise #18 A 2. Example from Exercise #18B 3. Example from Sponge Bob cartoon 4. Example from Mary Poppins movie Tina

19 Grice’s notion of “implicatures” as he decided that “implication” was not the right word for what is implied in an utterance. Implicatures are inferences or deductions that are made in accordance with the conversational maxims. The listener takes into account both the linguistic meaning of the utterance (literal meaning) as well as the particular circumstances in which the utterance is made (context). Tina

20 Implicatures can easily be proved incorrect since they are based on assumptions that may turn out to be incorrect Example: “Sam’s car has been broken down. He’s been riding his bike to work all week.” This statement is based on the assumption that Sam will always drive his car if it is available but what if he had just started a new exercise program and rides his bike to work as part of it. Tina

21 Implicature vs. Presupposition Presuppositions are situations that must exist for utterances to be correct according to Grice’s Maxims. Example from Alice in Wonderland: “Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. “I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “ so I can’t take more.” Tina

22 Example of a Performance Utterance I hereby apologize to you. Determine whether the following sentences are performative sentences by inserting “I hereby” and seeing whether they sound right. I hereby know you. I testify that she met the agent. I know that she met the agent. I suppose the Yankees will win. Jerry

23 Pragmatic Problems An individual with pragmatic problems may: ■ say inappropriate or unrelated things during conversations ■ tell stories in a disorganized way ■ have little variety in language use It is not unusual for children to have pragmatic problems in only a few situations. Tina

24 When pragmatic problems may indicate a pragmatic disorder: -Problems in social language use occur often and seem inappropriate considering the child's age. -Pragmatic disorders often coexist with other language problems such as vocabulary development or grammar. -Pragmatic problems can lower social acceptance as peers may avoid having conversations with an individual with a pragmatic disorder. /Pragmatics /Pragmatics

25 Pragmatic Language Impairment (PLI) Subgroup of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) PLI involves conversational difficulties (no clear definition) Characteristics of children with PLI: - have difficulty reorganizing social cues -have problems understanding and engaging in “small talk” -give conversational responses that are socially inappropriate -tend to have tangential speech PLI has been used to refer to behaviors found in disparate conditions including: -autism -Down’s Syndrome -hearing impairment -learning disabilities, etc. Tina

26 Possible Misinterpretation of Culturally Different Discourse Skills of Hispanic Students Brice, A. et al (2007) contend that teachers may misunderstand the pragmatic behaviors of culturally and linguistically diverse Hispanic students and inappropriately mistaken these behaviors as indicative of a language learning disability and refer these students for special education evaluations. Tina

27 Two kinds of language expertise English Language Learners (ELLs) need to acquire: Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) -oral language used in daily social encounters such as on the playground, in the hallways, etc. -ELLs take 1 to 3 years to reach the social language level of their peers. Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) -language of academic discipline; vocabulary and usage distinct by subject area. -ELLs take 5 to 7 years to acquire. -Cummins’s Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) theory: “Concepts are most readily developed in the first language and, once developed, are accessible through the second language.” (Freeman &Freeman, 1994, p. 176)

28 Sociocultural Theory of Vygotsky Basis of Second Language Teaching Lev Vygotsky was born into a non-religious Jewish family the Russian Empire in 1897 and began studying law at the University of Moscow and then studied and graduated from the Shanyavskii People’s University in His work included introducing the notion of zone of proximal development, an innovative metaphor capable of describing the potential of human cognitive development, and covered diverse topics such as the relation between learning and human development, concept formation, interrelation between language and thought development, play as a psychological phenomenon, learning disabilities, and abnormal human development. Sociocultural theory emphasizes meaningful social interaction as the greatest motivating force in human development including language learning.

29 Vygotsky advocates meaning-based instruction including a Focus on Pragmatics for Second Language Learners (SLLs) Acquisition of pragmatic competence can be difficult for SLLs because this area of linguistic competence may differ significantly from what they know in their first language (L1). Aspects of speech like intonation and idioms may need to be explicitly explained to SLLs. SLLs may need explicit instruction to determine meaning fully from context since there may be a wide variety of meanings in one grammatical structure.

30 What Vygotsky’s Theory Means for Classroom and Lesson Organization Children develop second language proficiency by interacting with other people in the target language gradually internalizing forms of social interaction. Teacher should act as facilitators assisting SLLs in accessing their language learning environment including developmentally appropriate activities and challenging problem-solving situations. SLLs need opportunities for oral interaction with adults so strategies such as reading group discussions across content areas and dialogue journals can be used to enhance both oral and written teacher-student interaction. Teachers should not primarily directly transmit knowledge to students.

31 Another viewpoint on teaching pragmatics to SLLs: Social language skills to teach: greeting people giving and receiving complements apologizing making polite requests Ways to teach social skills: Interactive book reading Role playing Videos Teacher modeling Peer modeling

32 Pragmatics is concerned with the interpretation of linguistic meaning in context. Two kinds of context are relevant. Linguistic context-discourse that precedes the phrase or sentences to be interpreted. Discourse-linguistic unit that comprises more than one sentence including exchanges between speakers. Situational context-the nonlinguistic environment in which a sentence or discourse happens. Contextual knowledge includes who is speaking, who is listening, what objects are being discussed, and general facts about the world. Jerry

33 Insert Web Page – Social Board Game: m/Freebies/feelingbingoFree.pdf m/Freebies/feelingbingoFree.pdf

34 Works Cited Brice, A., Miller, K., & Brice, R. G. (2007). A Study of English as a Second Language in General Education Classrooms. Multiple Voices For Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 10(1-2), Eun, B., & Lim, H. (2009). A Sociocultural View of Language Learning: The Importance of Meaning-Based Instruction. TESL Canada Journal, 27(1), Freeman, D. E. & Freeman, Y. S. (1994). Between worlds: Access to Second Language Acquisition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Fujiki, M. & Brinton, B. (2009). Pragmatics and Social Communication in Child language Disorders. In Schwartz, R. G. (Ed.) Handbook of Child Language Disorders (pp ) New York, NY: Psychology Press. Gerenser, J. (2009). Language Disorders in Children with Autism. In Schwartz, R. G. (Ed.) Handbook of Child Language Disorders (pp ) New York, NY: Psychology Press. Grice, P. (1989). Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, MA: Howard University Press. Haynes, J. (2007). Getting Started with English Language Learners How Educators Can Meet the Challenge. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. McIntyre, E., Kyle, D. W., Chen, C., Kraemer, J., & Parr, J. (2009). 6 Principles for Teaching English Language Learners in All Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Perkins, M. (2007). Pragmatic Impairment. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Reisinger, L.M., Cornish, K.M., & Fombonne, E. (2011). Diagnostic Differentiation of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Pragmatic Language Impairment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(12),


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