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It is more than language: the role of cognition in the pragmatic skills of children who are deaf and hard of hearing

posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Dianne Toe, Louise PaatschLouise Paatsch, Amy Szarkowski
Deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children who use spoken language face unique challenges when communicating with others who have typical hearing, particularly their peers. In such contexts, the social use of language has been recognized as an area of vulnerability among individuals in this population and has become a focus for research and intervention. The development of pragmatic skills intersects with many aspects of child development, including emotional intelligence and executive function, as well as social and emotional development. While all these areas are important, they are beyond the scope of this chapter, which highlights the impact of pragmatics on the specific area of cognition. Cognitive pragmatics is broadly defined as the study of the mental processes involved in the understanding of meaning in the context of a cooperative interaction. This chapter explores how DHH children and young people construe meaning in the context of conversations and expository interactions with their peers. The chapter aims to examine the role played by the cognitive processes of making inferences and comprehending implicature, within the overall display of pragmatic skills. Further, the authors use this lens in the analysis of interactions between DHH children and their peers in order to shed light on the development of pragmatic skills in children who are DHH.


Title of book

The Oxford handbook of deaf studies in learning and cognition


Oxford Library of Psychology

Chapter number



1 - 31


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

[Oxford, Eng.]





Publication classification

B1 Book chapter




Mark Marschark, Harry Knoors