Publication Details

Leinonen, E. K. & Smith, B. R. (1994). Appropriacy judgements and pragmatic performance. European Journal of Disorders of Communication, 29 (1), 77-84.


This paper examines judgements of inappropriacy made by groups of independent raters from different professional backgrounds when presented with data from two boys with semantic, pragmatic and syntactic difficulties, who are interacting with adults, and when presented with data in a transcript or video format. The purpose is to explore the nature of such judgements with the view to highlighting the centrality and the complex nature of inappropriacy judgements in the clinical management of pragmatic impairment. The current study suggests that consensus of view as to what is or is not appropriate in interactions involving child clients may not exist in the general population. It further suggests that professional experience with children may direct one's attention primarily to the child client. Video presentation of information also appeared to direct attention to the child interactant. Given that audiovisual presentation of data is able to reproduce the non-linguistic 'oddness' of a child (e.g. averted gaze, slumped posture, monotonous voice), a situation seems to be created in which the linguistic content is perceived as equally 'odd' or inappropriate. This study has implications for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of pragmatic difficulties in children.