Chapter published in:Japanese Mood and Modality in Systemic Functional Linguistics: Theory and Application
Edited by Ken-Ichi Kadooka
[Not in series 234] 2021
The cognitive and linguistic reasoning process of the speaker’s choice of modal expressions
Modality from the perspective of pragmatic impairment
The inability to use modality appropriately observed in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is generally viewed as pragmatic impairment. This current study explores the divergent modal usage of ASD individuals, viewing it as a pragmatic impairment to be examined from neurological, cognitive, and linguistic perspectives. Based on statistical data derived from observations of how ASD persons use modal expressions while speaking, this paper clarifies the nature of their pragmatic impairment and proposes a new model for research. Although Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) did not explore the cognitive side of language use, the current study supports the view that pragmatic competency is primarily a neurocognitive and secondarily a linguistic function. This is evidenced by the empirical studies of lexicogrammatical choices made by individuals with cognitive disability such as ASD, as the current study shows. The central issue is that seeing pragmatic impairment from the neurocognitive perspective tells us how various factors (in addition to language) are integrated when normal people engage in conversational exchange in interpersonal situations.
Keywords: Pragmatic impairment, modality, SFL, ASD, clinical linguistics
Published online: 23 March 2021
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