Hello! My name is Leah Lewis and I am an speech therapist (ST)at Partners In Excellence. I have been practicing as a speech therapist for four years and treat clients at our North St. Paul location. I enjoy working at Partners as I love helping children find their voice whether it is via vocalizing and/or using an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device.  

What is Pragmatics? 

There are six different sub-categories in linguistics in which pragmatics falls under. Pragmatics is a term used interchangeably with social communication. Pragmatics is defined as set of rules or principles used in conversation with others (i.e. body language, expressions, greetings). Below will break down the three major skills which falls under the pragmatics. 

Using language -for a variety of purposes: 

  • Greetings: “hi”, “bye”, “good morning” 
  • Informing: “I am going to go to the bathroom” 
  • Requesting: “give me a block”, “I need help”, “I want a snack” 

Changing language -for a listener or a certain circumstance: 

  • Using a variety of intonations such as talking to a baby vs. talking to an elderly person 
  • Providing a listener with more or less information depending on how familiar they are with the topic.  

Following rules during conversations: 

  • Taking turns talking with others 
  • Staying on topic 
  • Using gestures  
  • Changing facial expressions 
  • Making eye contact 
  • Understanding the appropriate distance to stand next to someone when their talking.  

Tips and tricks at home: 

  1. Play games at home to provide your child with opportunities to take turns communicating and using appropriate eye contact. This is also a great way to address emotions. For example: “Bummer, I lost the game. I feel sad. You won the game and you appear happy”  
  1. Provide wait time: When asking your child a question give them 5-10 seconds to respond before talking. This will provide your child more time to think about what they want to tell you.  
  1. Pretend play with babies, animals, people and demonstrate how you can change your voice when talking with different characters. You can also practice staying on topic while pretend playing.  
  1. Greetings: Be sure to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to your child along with having siblings and other family members. Have your child practice initiate or return the greeting by verbalizing and/or using gestures.  


ASHA. (2021). Social Communication https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/social-communication/