Relevance and Linguistic Meaning

The importance of discourse markers (words like so, however, and well) lies in the theoretical questions they raise about the nature of discourse and the relationship between linguistic meaning and context. They are regarded as being central to semantics because they raise problems for standard theories of meaning, and to pragmatics because they seem to play a role in the way discourse is understood. In this new and important study, Diane Blakemore argues that attempts to analyse these expressions within standard semantic frameworks raise even more problems, while their analysis as expressions that link segments of discourse has led to an unproductive and confusing exercise in classification. She concludes that the exercise in classification that has dominated discourse marker research should be replaced by the investigation of the way in which linguistic expressions contribute to the inferential processes involved in utterance understanding.

• As well as providing a framework for the analysis of discourse markers, the book addresses broader theoretical issues in semantics and pragmatics • Builds on and improves on a framework that has been used for the analysis of discourse markers in a variety of languages • After Sperber & Wilson, author is the foremost Relevance theorist in the world and one of the leading pragmatists on the international scene


Introduction; 1. Meaning and truth; 2. Non-truth conditional meaning; 3. Relevance and meaning; 4. Procedural meaning; 5. Relevance and discourse; Conclusion.


‘Relevance and Linguistic Meaning raises a number of interesting and important issues … it is a well-structured and accessibly written book …’. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia