What is Pragmatic?

Pragmatic is an area of study that looks at how language is used in context. It incorporates elements of philosophy, sociology and anthropology and is key to understanding how people communicate with each other. Pragmatic language difficulties are common among individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities and are often difficult to spot. They can interfere with everyday functioning and make it more difficult to form friendships, participate in social activities, maintain jobs or learn a new skill.

A person’s ability to use pragmatic language is influenced by their environment, culture and family. Individuals who do not grow up in a culturally appropriate or familiar environment may find it more difficult to develop the necessary pragmatic skills. This could also be true for children who are adopted from other countries and cultures. Individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or brain injuries may also experience pragmatic language difficulties.

The ability to understand and express a range of emotions is a major factor in pragmatic development. In order for a child to develop a good grasp of this, they will need to have the ability to identify and describe their feelings. They will also need to be able to respond appropriately to others and take into account their own needs as well as those of other people.

A pragmatic approach to law decision- and policymaking encourages legal actors and scholars to consciously deploy it as a method of problem solving, rather than limiting it to particular areas of the law. It is an approach that promotes depolarization and nonpartisan pluralism and rejects contestation over abstract ideals in favor of problem-solving through experimentation, application of empirical evidence, and contextualized decisionmaking.

There are many different theories of Pragmatics, but they can be broadly classified into two categories: near-side and far-side pragmatics. Near-side pragmatics focuses on the properties of utterances in relation to what they mean, while far-side pragmatics is concerned with how a speaker’s actions and intentions affect an utterance’s meaning.

To understand how a theory of pragmatics works, it is helpful to look at some examples. For example, imagine your neighbour says “gosh, look at the time” and you assume they mean the literal meaning – that is that they are telling you the exact time. But in reality, they are probably implying that they want you to leave them alone, which is an example of far-side pragmatics. For more examples of the way that a theory of pragmatics works, visit our interactive pragmatist tool. It will help you better understand how to apply this theory in your work and life!