Semin Speech Lang 2007; 28(2): 096-110
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-970568
Copyright © 2007 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Pragmatics and Adult Language Disorders: Past Achievements and Future Directions

Louise Cummings1
  • 1Reader in Linguistics, School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 April 2007 (online)


In this article, the current state of our knowledge of pragmatic disorders in adults with language impairment is assessed. A brief historical background of clinical pragmatics is presented, and the place of adult language pathology within the development of this field is discussed. A comprehensive review is undertaken of pragmatic deficits in adults with language impairments of diverse etiologies. Specifically, pragmatic deficits are examined in adults with left-hemisphere damage, often resulting in aphasia, and in adults with right-hemisphere damage, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disorders (principally, Alzheimer's disease). Although many pragmatic phenomena have been examined in these clinical populations, studies have also tended to neglect important areas of pragmatic functioning in adults with these disorders. Several such areas are identified within a wider discussion of how researchers and clinicians can best pursue future investigations of pragmatics in adults with language impairment.


Dr. Louise Cummings

Reader in Linguistics, School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham

NG11 8NS, England, United Kingdom

Email: [email protected]