How to Teach Pragmatics

Pragmatics is a specialized branch of linguistics, focusing on how people use language to communicate with others. This is different from linguistic semantics, which examines the meaning of a word or phrase; syntax, which describes how words are combined to form sentences; and semiotics, which focuses on the use and interpretation of symbols.

Pragmatic competence is the ability to communicate with other people using a variety of linguistic expressions in a way that will be understood by others. This is essential to communication, since it means that people can convey information correctly so that everyone can understand what they are saying and how they are saying it.

Learning to be pragmatic involves developing the skills that allow people to adapt their communication techniques to different circumstances and follow social norms. It also helps people accurately express their ideas and feelings so that they can solve problems or build relationships with others.

There are several ways that teachers can teach learners to be more competent in pragmatics. They can add lessons on pragmatics to existing lesson plans, create new lessons based on the needs of the students, or use classroom activities that require the student to determine the best ways to communicate in a given situation.

Lessons in Pragmatics are Typically Linked to Language Functions

The best place for teachers to focus on teaching pragmatics is the classroom. This is because the classroom is a safe place for learners to experiment with using language in different ways. It is a great place to introduce learners to various language functions, such as greetings, requests, complaints, invitations, and apologies.

In addition to the language functions, teachers can also introduce learners to a range of conversational implicatures, which are situations in which a speaker implifies and a listener infers what he or she is trying to say. These complexities can be confusing for learners, so it is important to teach them how to interpret conversations appropriately.

To understand how learners acquire pragmatic competence, researchers often use experimental methods to study the cognitive effort required for interpreting various kinds of linguistic expressions that convey different types of conversational implicatures. These include full phrase or sentence reading time studies, eye-movement studies, and other measures that explore people’s total mental effort to interpret a particular kind of linguistic expression conveying different kinds of conversational implicatures.