Social Communication

Social communication is the use of language in social contexts. It involves social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics, and language processing.

Social communication includes three major skills:

1) Using language for different reasons, such as:

  • Greeting. Saying "hello" or "goodbye."
  • Informing. "I'm going to get a cookie."
  • Demanding. "Give me a cookie right now."
  • Promising. "I'm going to get you a cookie."
  • Requesting. "I want a cookie, please."

2) Changing language for the listener or situation, such as:

  • Talking differently to a baby than to an adult.
  • Giving more information to someone who does not know the topic. Knowing to skip some details when someone already knows the topic.
  • Talking differently in a classroom than on a playground.

3) Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as:

  • Taking turns when you talk.
  • Letting others know the topic when you start talking.
  • Staying on topic.
  • Trying another way of saying what you mean when someone did not understand you.
  • Using gestures and body language, like pointing or shrugging.
  • Knowing how close to stand to someone when talking.
  • Using facial expressions and eye contact.

These rules may be different from one culture to another.

Social communication, spoken language, and written language all work together. Social communication skills are needed for language expression and comprehension in both spoken and written modalities. Spoken and written language skills allow for effective communication in a variety of social contexts and for a variety of purposes.