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Prof Robyn Carston
Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
Prof Robyn Carston profile picture
  • Professor of Linguistics
  • Linguistics
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Research Groups
Research Summary

My research focuses on pragmatics and on its interfaces with semantics (linguistic meaning) and with other cognitive systems, in particular, the 'theory of mind' system. The pragmatic account that I mostly work with has been developed within Relevance Theory, a framework which incorporates many of the key insights of Grice's philosophically-based pragmatics, while also being responsive to the findings of current empirical research within cognitive science (on language comprehension processes, evolutionary psychology, children's communicative development, cognitive architecture). Much of my past work has been an attempt to understand the extent to which what we communicate by uttering a sentence is determinable from the linguistic meaning of the sentence. In my view, context-sensitive pragmatic processes play an essential role in the recovery of a speaker's intended meaning, not only in inferring the implicatures of an utterance, but also in driving its explicitly communicated content. My two main current projects are: (a) Pragmatic routes to the understanding of metaphor and related non-literal uses of language; (b)  The nature of lexical meaning and its relation to the concepts we express or communicate.

Teaching Summary

I currently teach the module 'Issues in Pragmatics', and coordinate and teach on the MA Linguistics with specialization in Pragmatics.

01-JAN-2005 Professor of Linguistics Linguistics UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1986   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1980   Master of Arts University College London
1976   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Victoria University of Wellington
1975   Bachelor of Arts University of Canterbury
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