Social Communication: The Basics

Social Communication: The Basics

When you hear the term “social communication” or “social skills”, what you do think of? If you are like most people, you might think of having good manners or being a good conversationalist. Well, you wouldn’t be wrong. But social communication, also known as pragmatics, includes so much more than manners or conversation. The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) refers to social communication as “rules for how we use language in different situations with different people.” Social communication includes both verbal and nonverbal language.

ASHA breaks social communication into three main topics including using language, changing language, and following rules. In order to better understand our many daily interactions, a review of these topics will be helpful.

Using Language. Why do we use language? What purpose does it serve? We use language to accomplish a number of things – a request for an item or an action, to inform a person about a topic, or even just a simple greeting.

Changing Language. When or why would we need to change the way that we use language? We change the way we use language depending on several factors such as who we are talking to or where we are talking. For example, we change the way we use language and speak to a friend versus a teacher. We change the way we use language when we are at work or school versus when we are at home.

Following Rules. If no one followed rules at school or while driving on the roads, things would be a little chaotic, right? Social communication isn’t much different. There are rules that we follow (whether we realize it or not) to have an appropriate conversation. These rules include things such as turn-taking, eye contact, recognizing and staying on topic, and providing adequate personal space for your communication partner.

So why is it important to have good social communication? Why should we follow these “rules” about how we use language? Social communication helps us interact with others and both create and sustain relationships. The second part of this series will be about social communication disorders and phone applications that are available to improve social communication.

If you have concerns about your child’s social communication skills, please contact the Delaware Speech and Hearing Center at 740-369-3650 or


Check out our last blog: More Apps to Stimulate Speech and Language Skills – Infants

By |2018-12-14T20:42:26+00:00December 14th, 2018|Education, Speech Language Pathology|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. […] “rules for how we use language in different situations with different people” was shared in a separate blog. It was shared that social communication can be broken into the three main topics of using language, […]

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