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Pragmatic Development

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  • 1. Pragmatic Development Berko Gleason Ch 6 Outline of the class What is linguistic competence? What is communicative competence? (pragmatics) The importance of communicative competence Speech acts Requests: an important type of speech acts Ineffective communication and how to help What does it take to be an effective communicator? Knowing how to pronounce? Vocabulary knowledge? Knowledge of the rules of syntax? Linguistic competence Knowing a language The ability to produce and understand well-formed, well- meaningful sentences
  • 2. What does it take to be an effective communicator? Communicative competence is also important for an effective communicator What is communicative competence (Pragmatics)? Pragmatics: Knowledge about the Pragmatics: communicative function of language and the conventions that govern the use of language in order to communicate. Learning how to make language work in interactions with others For example, understand that language has to be contextually appropriate. Do you have an example of a contextually inappropriate use of language? What is communicative competence (Pragmatics)? Effective communication requires pragmatic knowledge; or sometimes named as discourse knowledge and sociolinguistic knowledge. Discourse knowledge concerns the use of language in units larger than a sentence (conversations, narratives) Sociolinguistic knowledge concerns how language use varies as a function of sociological variables (status, culture, gender etc.)
  • 3. The Importance of Communicative Competence Predictive of later literacy skills, why? Necessary to function in classroom and in life Associated with being liked more by peers and adults Speech Acts (John Austin) What are speech acts? Speech acts refer to sentences that not only describe or report information, but also help speakers accomplish things. e.g., I warn you that a hurricane in arriving soon. Speech acts include orders, requests, warnings, verdicts, promises, and apologies. Components of Speech Acts Components Definition Locutionary act Form Illocutionary act Intended function Perlocutionary act Effect e.g., “It’s hot here”, what are the 3 acts?
  • 4. Speech Acts The intended function of language may be different from its form and its literal meaning. Often context is needed in order to determine what the function of a sentence might be. Generate a couple of examples Language in Social Contexts When learning language, children must not only be able to create language in an understandable form (locution) but must also understand that speakers have an intent (illocutionary force) and what is spoken has an effect (perlocution). (perlocution). Language is not communicative if it has no intent and no effect. Requests: an important type of speech acts Exemplify the distinctions of three components of speech acts. Can vary greatly: Indirect requests: “The telephone is ringing” requests: Direct request: “Answer telephone” request: A direct request with a semantic aggravator: aggravator: “Answer the telephone right now” A direct request with a semantic mitigator: “could mitigator: you please answer the telephone”
  • 5. Do Preschoolers Understand Indirect Requests? Research has shown that children as young as two years old understand indirect requests. They can respond appropriately or refuse to comply May develop this understanding so early because indirect requests are very common in everyday speech. Maybe differ between cultures Studies show that African-American children in African- schools are not as responsive to indirect requests Requests and Status If you were to ask me for help with class material how would you word your request? If you were the teacher asking a student to see you after class, how would you word your request? Adults and children as young as preschool use direct requests with semantic aggravators to listeners of lower status Adults and children as young as preschool use indirect requests with semantic mitigators to listeners of higher status Ineffective Communication in Preschool Preschoolers are not inherently egocentric but are more likely than either older children or adults to behave so.
  • 6. Ineffective Communication in Preschool Preschoolers have problems with deictic terms Terms that point to components of a situation but do not actually name them. “I,” “you,” are acquired earliest “here”, “there” are difficult. Preschoolers also have problems sustaining a conversation, taking turns in a conversation, and do not yet fully understand conversations over the telephone. Here we see examples of egocentrism Individual differences Gender: young girls tend to use more collaborative, supportive and mitigated speech styles than young boys Siblings: first-born children – more advanced lexical first- and grammatical skills Later-born children – more developed Later- conversational skills Why? Language and ethnicity: African American Vernacular English Ebonics (AAVE) (AAVE) Has its phonological, syntactic, and pragmatic features What is your opinion about teaching Standard English (SE) in class but also taking AAVE into consideration? In what setting is inappropriate to use AAVE?
  • 7. How to help children learn to communicate effectively? Encourage children to talk Explicitly teach some rules governing communication Prompts Modeling Reinforcement (more see Table 6.2 p.209)

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