What is Pragmatic?
Pragmatic is a broad field that includes studies of both the use and the study of language. It encompasses many different topics and disciplines, including linguistics, philosophy, psychology, semiotics, social sciences and history of language. The concept of pragmatics is used in a variety of contexts, from business communication to everyday speech and interaction. It is also used to describe a person’s attitude or behavior, referring to their practical approach to life situations and interactions with others.
The word pragmatic is most commonly used in reference to a person’s behavior, attitudes and approach to a situation or problem. It is a positive term that refers to a person’s ability to deal with situations and problems in a reasonable way by considering the consequences of various choices. This can lead to a more effective and beneficial outcome for all involved.
In the early 20th century, a group of philosophers and psychologists led by Peirce and James developed a set of philosophical ideas that came to be known as pragmatism. They promoted the idea that we learn about the world by observing its use, that language is a medium for conveying meaning, and that reality is created through human interaction. These pragmatist ideas are still influential today, but the scholarly community is not always in agreement about what pragmatism actually is.
A number of contemporary pragmatists have worked to place these ideas in a wider Western philosophical context, for instance by tracing Peirce’s significant debt to Kant (Apel 1974, Gava 2010) and identifying connections between pragmatism and 19th century idealism (Margolis 2010, Stern 2009). Some of these philosophers have also emphasized the significance of a more critical reading of classical pragmatism, including the work of George Herbert Mead, Cornel West, W.E.B Du Bois and Alain Locke (Brandom 2011).
While pragmatism is a multidisciplinary domain, most linguists have focused on pragmatic theory and research. This is because linguistics is a discipline that deals with the structure of language, the ways people use it in dialogue and in their lives, and the ways that the meaning of language changes over time. The pragmatist approach to linguistics has had a profound influence on the field of pragmatics, and on related disciplines such as semantics, syntax, and semiotics.
The pragmatics of communication is an important area that intersects with the development of children’s language. This is because the way a child uses language depends on how it is received by other children and adults. For example, the idioms that are used in different cultures can impact how children interpret their own language. The study of pragmatics in the classroom is especially important because it helps teachers to create learning materials that are relevant to their students’ experiences.
The papers in this special issue of PLoS ONE represent a diverse range of empirical topics, methods and perspectives that characterize the large literature on pragmatic development. They suggest that the key to new progress in pragmatic development will come from developing precise, theoretically motivated connections between pragmatic mechanisms on the one hand and the semantic and cognitive processes that underlie individual phenomena and the tasks that are used to test them on the other.