The Pragmatics and Psychology Lab

The Pragmatics and Psychology Lab is Coming!

Space Age Language Lab

When we first start learning a new language, we are, of course, more worried about making ourselves generally understood than about how the listener is psychologically interpreting what we're saying. However, as we progress in a language, we sometimes learn that certain words and phrases that we had been using in some situations are not the same words and phrases that a native speaker would use in those same situations. In fact, the native speakers might have even been thinking the words we had chosen were quite odd for the situation, whatever it may be.

The way speakers interpret meaning in context is called 'pragmatics', and it is in this lab that we hope to help you understand how native speakers are interpreting your speech. For example, the simple and common word well has a variety of meanings in English, and native speakers will interpret it in different ways depending on intonation and context. Sometimes they will process it as an invitation to speak and at other times they will process it as an order to speak. In the Pragmatics and Psychology Lab, we examine and explain the subtle differences in the use of words and phrases in context, and if there's a question you'd like to have answered, please write to us!