Pragmatic (Social) Language

Pragmatic language refers to the social language skills that we use in our daily interactions with others. This includes what we say, how we say it, our non-verbal communication (eye contact, facial expressions, body language etc.) and how appropriate our interactions are in a given situation.

Pragmatic skills are vital for communicating our personal thoughts, ideas and feelings. Children with difficulties in this area often misinterpret other peoples’ communicative intent and therefore will have difficulty responding appropriately either verbally or non-verbally. (

Examples of pragmatic skills:

• Conversational skills
• Asking for, giving and responding to information
• Turn taking
• Eye contact
• Introducing and maintaining topics
• Making relevant contributions to a topic
• Asking questions
• Avoiding repetition or irrelevant information
• Asking for clarification
• Adjusting language based on the situation or person
• Using language of a given peer group
• Using humour
• Using appropriate strategies for gaining attention and interrupting
• Asking for help or offering help appropriately
• Offering/responding to expressions of affection appropriately
• Facial expression
• Body language
• Intonation of voice
• Body distance and personal space


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