How Are Your Pragmatic Language Skills?

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NeantHumain
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08 Sep 2005, 9:06 pm

Probably one of the most difficult parts of initiating social interaction for me is what developmental psychologists call pragmatic language: when to say, when to say bye, when to say thank you, when to nod in agreement, when it is socially acceptable to interrupt, etc.

I sometimes say thank you a little too much, for example. At restaurants, I say it every time a waiter brings me a refill of soda or water or when the waiter brings my food or an appetizer. It probably sounds like it's being forced out: What do I say? Oh, thank you! With hi, I often don't say it unless someone says it to me first (that's also a mix of social phobia). I used to not say hi at all, especially since my first name is so common that I just assumed people were talking to someone else.

Another thing is I can never time when to start speaking in group conversation. I often start speaking at the sime time someone starts speaking, and I have to say, "Sorry, go ahead," or they say likewise. It's embarrassing. I know NTs sometimes do the same thing, but it happens much more often with me. I can't go more than maybe ten minutes in a large group conversation where I'm actively participating without it happening at least once.

How many of you have similar problems? What has helped you?



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08 Sep 2005, 11:30 pm

Pragmatic Language? Don't think I have any of that. I say "hey" to just about anybody who's face looks familiar. But I never say thankyou. Well, yeah I do. I just dislike so much that I always prefer "no problem", because I don't like thanking people. When to say bye is probably the toughest one for me, never quite sure when to. I usually end up just not saying bye most of the time.


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09 Sep 2005, 12:27 am

I also say thank you too often and I never know when to add something to a discussion... but except for that, I`m not so bad at pragmatic language.



mikibacsi1124
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09 Sep 2005, 12:52 am

NeantHumain wrote:
Probably one of the most difficult parts of initiating social interaction for me is what developmental psychologists call pragmatic language: when to say, when to say bye, when to say thank you, when to nod in agreement, when it is socially acceptable to interrupt, etc.

I sometimes say thank you a little too much, for example. At restaurants, I say it every time a waiter brings me a refill of soda or water or when the waiter brings my food or an appetizer. It probably sounds like it's being forced out: What do I say? Oh, thank you! With hi, I often don't say it unless someone says it to me first (that's also a mix of social phobia). I used to not say hi at all, especially since my first name is so common that I just assumed people were talking to someone else.


Yeah, I know I always compulsively say "thank you", especially at places like restaraunts, as well as to my friends and whatnot. I guess I just want to make sure I don't come off as rude, cause I know that can happen easily for an aspie.

EDIT: I do also say "no problem" a lot.

Quote:
Another thing is I can never time when to start speaking in group conversation. I often start speaking at the sime time someone starts speaking, and I have to say, "Sorry, go ahead," or they say likewise. It's embarrassing. I know NTs sometimes do the same thing, but it happens much more often with me. I can't go more than maybe ten minutes in a large group conversation where I'm actively participating without it happening at least once.


See, what happens with me, is that I'll start saying something BEFORE someone else says it, but then someone else starts opening their mouth, and I'll usually give in to them.



aspiegirl2
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09 Sep 2005, 2:21 am

I think I have trouble with that as well, because at places (such as restaurants) I compulsively say thankyou, or sometimes I say sorry compulsively. I don't know when to say goodbye either, and sometimes I need to go (or want to go) and I don't know how or when to say that I need or want to go. This pragmatic stuff is interesting.


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09 Sep 2005, 9:58 am

Hit and miss, trial and error methods work well for me. I'm almost always with someone else when I go somewhere, and typically I just sort of wander off until they finish speaking. If I can, I let the other person initate the goodbyes, and then I chime in. If by myself and another, I tend to make my goodbyes abrubt as possible. Possibly disconcertening to others, but not enough to make a pariah of me. If I pass someone I know at work, I just completely ingore them unless I haven't seen them for more than a month. (The stress-free option for me!)

Church folks I aknowledge verbally the first time I run into them, and try to aknowledge them afterwards nonverbally.

I just go ahead and thank the waiter every dam* time they come around simply because it is a lot simpler that way. I don't feel self-concious doing so, and they are amused by my doing so. Doesn't hurt a thing, IMO.


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09 Sep 2005, 10:02 am

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"Pragmatics is the area of language function that embraces the use of language in social contexts (knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it- and how to "be" with other people). (Caroline Bowen, 2001)


Well, I am sometimes bad with TMI. And I can also talk a person's ear off. Also, when I am in a humorous, joking mood, I can sometimes have a tendency to get too loud with a punch line or when doing voices. Many people don't notice this about me until I am very comfortable with them because I usually don't loosen up for my full humor until I am comfortable. So if I mention this to someone I don't know quite so well, they will likely say "Well, I have never noticed that about you." (This actually happened the other day.)

I also try to be sometimes funny too much. I don't know when to stop. That is one of my main socialization tools. I need others to mix it up more. It's either that or impress them with my knowledge, lol. (I don't think they're impressed past the first time I do this. Every other time I think they go "Oh God... not again.")

When I am uncomfortable with a person, I am more likely to present a monotone voice. If I am comfortable with them, I do LOTS of different voices and can possibly get too loud on occasions. But enough that my voice just gets out of hand and I realize once the words have left my mouth that I was definitely too loud. I find I am often quite good at curbing my own behavior. But in many instances, I have to relearn this "curbing" for each new setting, like in classes. I will have a poorer time with pragmatics in each new class, and then I just make a mental note when I've gone too far and I usually don't cross that line again in that particular class. But I relearn this every single semester for each individual class because to me the learning process doesn't seem to carry over very well.

I am usually pretty good with common courtesy (since my private school drilled that into us at an early age and the more courteous I was to teachers, etc., the more they liked me and the better grades I would likely get, too). Incentive, hehe.

As for looking someone in the eye and this part of nonverbal language, I suck. And I really don't care to try and get any better because eye contact is so painful to me. If I am not anxious, I just do face/mouth contact and look there instead and no one seems to notice the difference.

But I am usually uncomfortable with people, except for those I know really well and the whole situation just feels awkward and unfamiliar. In these instances, I am more likely to present a poorer grasp of pragmatics on the whole than when I am with a very familiar person.


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09 Sep 2005, 10:30 am

participating in group conversation is like trying to cross a busy road for me. the rare time i have something to contribute i wait ages for a gap in the flow of conversation (or trafic flow) and then i usually wait too long and miss the opportunity or the topic of conversation changes. sometimes i think of something that i really want to say but when i try to gauge when there is likely to be a gap in the conversation i end up interrupting someone (getting run-over, to be metaphorical!).

although, in recent years i have become quite good at one-to-one conversations. i think it would be quite difficult for an observer to tell that i had ever had a problem in this department. i also find it helps if i am in a comfortable environment: somewhere there isn't a lot of background noise, sitting with my back to a wall (so i know there is nothing happening behind me that i should be aware of) and sitting with the main source of light behind me (so i can see the person's face clearly. personally, i am better at reading body language than voice intonation).



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09 Sep 2005, 11:30 am

Pragmatic Language? Don´t think I have that disorder.



NeantHumain
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09 Sep 2005, 1:50 pm

Another thing is saying excuse me, pardon, or sorry when moving through a crowd. I guess my spatial perception may be a little off, so sometimes I say excuse me when I'm no where near the other person.



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09 Sep 2005, 5:34 pm

I say sorry pretty compulsively. The same with thank you to a certain extent. But I don't see what the problem is with saying thank to the waiter every time they bring you something...that seems pretty normal to me.


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Nicolai
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09 Sep 2005, 5:58 pm

I also have a habit saying thank you automatically, without thinking why I should say thank you in the first place.
Sometimes I notice I´ve already said thank you, while I´m the one that should be thanked, e.g. someone is asking me a favor and not the other way round.



hecate
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09 Sep 2005, 6:20 pm

Nicolai wrote:
I also have a habit saying thank you automatically, without thinking why I should say thank you in the first place.
Sometimes I notice I´ve already said thank you, while I´m the one that should be thanked, e.g. someone is asking me a favor and not the other way round.


i do exactly the same thing! i'd never considered that i might not be the only one who does this.



mikibacsi1124
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09 Sep 2005, 7:45 pm

aspiegirl2 wrote:
I think I have trouble with that as well, because at places (such as restaurants) I compulsively say thankyou, or sometimes I say sorry compulsively. I don't know when to say goodbye either, and sometimes I need to go (or want to go) and I don't know how or when to say that I need or want to go. This pragmatic stuff is interesting.


Both online and in real life, too much time tends to go by between when I first say goodbye and when I actually end the conversation.



Nicolai
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10 Sep 2005, 3:35 am

hecate wrote:
Nicolai wrote:
I also have a habit saying thank you automatically, without thinking why I should say thank you in the first place.
Sometimes I notice I´ve already said thank you, while I´m the one that should be thanked, e.g. someone is asking me a favor and not the other way round.


i do exactly the same thing! i'd never considered that i might not be the only one who does this.

Yes, it´s embarrassing. :oops:
You realise you´ve started the wrong script the moment you´re saying it, but it´s already too late and you feel like a idiot.