Pragmatic disorders and social communication

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


As social animals, humans must establish mutually sustaining relationships with each other. Social communication is the principal mechanism by means of which this is achieved. This chapter examines the nature of social communication and the role of pragmatics in this form of communication. It is argued that a range of language and cognitive skills underlie social communication. Chief among these skills is pragmatic competence in the use and understanding of linguistic utterances. To the extent that pragmatics plays an important role in social communication, we may expect social communication to be disrupted in clients with pragmatic language disorders. This expectation is confirmed by studies that have investigated social communication skills in clients with clinical conditions in which there are marked pragmatic impairments (e.g. autism spectrum disorders). A previously somewhat neglected area of clinical investigation, social communication is increasingly finding its way into the assessment and treatment of clients with pragmatic disorders. This chapter examines some of the instruments and techniques which are used for this purpose. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how future research can usefully contribute to an understanding of social communication, both on its own terms and as a clinical construct.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815


  • Social cognition
  • Social communication assessment
  • Social communication disorder
  • Social communication intervention
  • Social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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