Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Clinical Semantics and Pragmatics

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Communication Therapy

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will link theoretical aspects of semantics and pragmatics to clinical practice in speech-language pathology. The clinical relevance of semantic and pragmatic principles will be highlighted, so that students will learn how to competently address both linguistic domains in the assessment and intervention of communication disorders.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to familiarise students with the link between fundamental concepts in the study of semantics and pragmatics and the clinical context.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Describe semantic and pragmatic impairments that may manifest themselves in children and adults.
2. Analyze methods and tools relevant to the assessment of semantic and pragmatic impairments.
3. Analyze methods and tools relevant to intervention with semantic and pragmatic impairments.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Identify semantic and pragmatic difficulties in children and adults.
2. Select appropriate methods and tools to assess semantic and pragmatic difficulties in children and adults.
3. Interpret assessment outcomes to derive relevant goals for semantic and pragmatic intervention.
4. Implement intervention for semantic and pragmatic impairments in children and adults by identifying appropriate approaches, methods and tools.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Essential Reading

Chiat, S. (2000). Understanding children with language problems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grundy, K. (1995) Linguistics in Clinical Practice. (2nd Ed.) UK: Whurr Publishers Ltd.
Huang, Y. (2006) Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McGregor, K. K. (2009). Semantics in Child Language Disorders. In R. G. Schwartz (Ed.), Handbook of child language disorders (pp. 365-387). New York: Psychology Press.
Whitworth, A., Webster, J. and Howard, D. (2005) A cognitive neuropsychological approach to assessment and intervention in aphasia a clinician’s guide. London: Psychology Press.

Desirable Reading

Adams, C. (2001). Clinical diagnostic and intervention studies of children with semantic-pragmatic language disorder. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 36(3), 289-305.
Anderson-Wood, L. (1997) Working with Pragmatics: A Practical Guide to Promoting Communicative Confidence. UK: Speechmark Publishing Ltd.
Burton, V. J., and Watkins, R. V. (2007). Measuring word learning: Dynamic versus static assessment of kindergarten vocabulary. Journal of Communication Disorders, 40(5), 335-356.
Constable, A. (2001). A psycholinguistic approach to word-finding difficulties. In J. Stackhouse & B. Wells (Eds.), Children's speech and literacy difficulties; bk. 2 (pp. 330-365). London: Whurr.
Cummings, L. (2008) Clinical Linguistics. Edinburgh University Press.
Cummings, L. (2009). Clinical Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grundy, P. (2008) Doing Pragmatics (2nd ed.) UK: Hodder Education.
Kelly, A. and Sains, B. (2010) Talkabout Assessment Tool. UK: Speechmark Publishing Ltd.
McDonald, S. E., Togher, L. and Code, C. (2013) "Social and Communication Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury" East Sussex: Psychology Press Ltd.
Perkins, M. R. (2007). Pragmatic impairment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Saeed, J. I. (2008). Semantics (3rd ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Supplementary Reading

Adams, C. and Lloyd, J. (2007). The effects of speech and language therapy intervention on children with pragmatic language impairments in mainstream school. British Journal of Special Education, 34(4), 226-233.
Alt, M., Plante, E., & Creusere, M. (2004). Semantic Features in Fast-Mapping: Performance of Preschoolers with Specific Language Impairment versus Preschoolers with Normal Language. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47(2), 407-420.
Chiat, S., & Hunt, J. (1993). Connections between phonology and semantics: An exploration of lexical processing in a language-impaired. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 9, 201-213.
Clark, E. V. (2009). First language acquisition (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Constable, A., Stackhouse, J., & Wells, B. (1997). Developmental word-finding difficulties and phonological processing: The case of the missing handcuffs. Applied Psycholinguistics, 18(4), 507-536.
Dockrell, J. E., Messer, D., & George, R. (2001). Patterns of naming objects and actions in children with word finding difficulties. Language and Cognitive Processes, 16(2-3), 261-286.
Dockrell, J. E., Messer, D., George, R., & Wilson, G. (1998). Notes and discussion: Children with word-finding difficulties prevalence, presentation, and naming problems. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 33(4), 445-454.
Fromkin, V., Rodman, R. and Hyams, N. (2011). An Introduction to Language. 9th Ed. USA: Wadsworth.
McGregor, K. K., Friedman, R. M., Reilly, R. M. and Newman, R. M. (2002a). Semantic representation and naming in young children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45(2), 332-346.
McGregor, K. K., Newman, R. M., Reilly, R. M., and Capone, N. C. (2002b). Semantic representation and naming in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45(5), 998-1014.
Owens, R.E. (2012) Language Development: An Introduction. 8th Ed. NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Shames, G., Wiig, E. and Secord, W. (2011) Human Communication Disorders: An Introduction (4th ed.) New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.
Smith, G. E. and Bondi, M. (2013) Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: Definitions, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 50%
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Marco Frendo
Daniela R. Gatt
Ritienne Grima

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.