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Semantic-Pragmatic Development

Key Information

Module code
Subject area
Level 3 modules (More information about module levels)
Credit value
4 (US), 7.5 (ECTS), 0.5 (CU)
Spring Term

Module overview

This module focuses on children's developing pragmatic competence. Topics may include:
The acquisition of various cognitive abilities necessary for full-fledged linguistic communication (e.g., grasp of understanding of common ground).
The development and understanding of pointing and ostensive gestures.
The role of pragmatics in language acquisition, and in particular, word learning.
The early production and understanding of pronouns.
The early production and understanding of quantifiers.
The early production and understanding of scalar inferences (and other types of implicatures).
The early production and understanding of non-literal language (metaphor and irony).

Course Aims
  • To delineate the theoretical issues raised by children's early acquisition of communicative skills and language.
  • To explain the uses (and misuses) of developmental experimental data for theoretical accounts of pragmatic skills.
  • To achieve an appreciation of the development through childhood of a wide range of pre-linguistic and linguistic pragmatic processes (including pointing, non-literal interpretation, metaphor, irony, implicatures).


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