Pragmatics and inference

Book chapter

Clark, B. 2014. Pragmatics and inference. in: Stockwell, P. and Whiteley, S. (ed.) Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics Cambridge Cambridge University Press. pp. 300-314
Chapter titlePragmatics and inference
AuthorsClark, B.

This chapter considers the nature of inferential processes, pragmatic theories which have been developed to account for them, and applications of these theories in stylistics. It points out that we make a large number of inferences very quickly in everyday situations, says something about pragmatic theories which have been developed since the work of Paul Grice (1967/1975; 1989) and considers how these theories have been, and can be, applied in stylistics. It then considers some general theoretical questions which can be addressed to some extent by pragmatic theories. The conclusions are: that inferential processes play a significant role in the production, interpretation and evaluation of all texts; that an account of these processes is a vital part of accounts of any text or communicative act; that there are practical issues which need to be addressed when accounting for inferences; that we do not always need to refer to specific theoretical assumptions when discussing inferences, though in some cases this is useful; that pragmatics can be applied in exploring theoretical as well as analytical questions; and finally, that there is lots of exciting work which can be carried out by looking at inference.

Research GroupEnglish Language and Literature
Page range300-314
Book titleCambridge Handbook of Stylistics
EditorsStockwell, P. and Whiteley, S.
PublisherCambridge University Press
Place of publicationCambridge
SeriesCambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics
Publication dates
PrintMay 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited30 May 2014
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)
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