1932

Abstract

Language is a fundamentally social endeavor. Pragmatics is the study of how speakers and listeners use social reasoning to go beyond the literal meanings of words to interpret language in context. In this article, we take a pragmatic perspective on language development and argue for developmental continuity between early nonverbal communication, language learning, and linguistic pragmatics. We link phenomena from these different literatures by relating them to a computational framework (the rational speech act framework), which conceptualizes communication as fundamentally inferential and grounded in social cognition. The model specifies how different information sources (linguistic utterances, social cues, common ground) are combined when making pragmatic inferences. We present evidence in favor of this inferential view and review how pragmatic reasoning supports children's learning, comprehension, and use of language.

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2019-12-24
2024-06-18
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