“Relevance theory and language change” by Billy Clark


This paper considers how ideas developed within relevance theory can be applied in accounting for language change. It briefly surveys previous relevance-theoretic work on language change and suggests that studies of procedural meaning, lexical pragmatics and metarepresentation can each play an important role in accounting for semantic change. It identifies a number of areas for further research which could help to develop understanding of both relevance theory and language change and suggests that one important line of further research would be to explore connections between work in relevance theory and approaches which adopt terms and ideas from the theory without adopting the relevance-theoretic framework overall.

Billy Clark (2016). Relevance theory and language change. Lingua, 175-176, pp. 139-153. Link

Dr Billy Clark

Dr Billy Clark

Affiliation: Middlesex University

I am a linguist with research and teaching interests covering a wide range of topics in linguistics and linguistic theory, with a particular focus on various aspects of meaning (semantics and pragmatics). This has included work on lexical and syntactic meaning, semantic change, phatic communication, prosodic meaning, multimodality and stylistics.

Recent publications include a book, Relevance Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and a collection edited with Siobhan Chapman, Pragmatic Literary Stylistics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

I have also worked with a number of groups interested in connections between work at school and at university. I am a member of the UK Linguistics Olympiad committee and, with Marcello Giovanelli and Andrea Macrae, I coordinate the Integrating English project (http://integratingenglish.org)

Profile page

Dr Peter Schneider

member icon

Affiliation: Private Practice & Brooklyn College, The City University of New York

My name is Peter Schneider. I am a psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from New York Univ. and a certificate in psychoanalysis from the NYU Post-doctoral program. I have been a faculty member at Brooklyn College and Empire State College (SUNY). My article on speech pragmatically and psychotherapy was published in an early number of your journal Language and Psychoanalysis. I have also had articles in Contemporary Psychoanalysis; Psychoanalytic Psychology; and Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. My current interests center on integrating psychoanalytic, Jamesian, and phenomenological views of the self. My e-mail is pschneid@gmail.com