Pragmatics and inference

Clark, Billy (2014) Pragmatics and inference. In: The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge University Press, pp. 300-314. ISBN 9781107028876

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


While he does not use the term, the process of arriving at conclusions mentioned in the above quote by the film-maker David Lynch is what psychologists describe as inference. Lynch is suggesting that people draw conclusions based on what they observe in life and also when watching films. To take a simple example, if I see a colleague at work moving very quickly down a corridor, I might conclude that they are late for an appointment. We also make inferences when people communicate with us in everyday spoken and written communications. And we make inferences when reading texts and watching all kinds of performances. Pragmatics is the field which studies inferences like this. Linguists are interested in inference because it plays a role in linguistic communication. Stylisticians are interested in inference because it plays a role in how we respond to literary and non-literary texts.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Q100 Linguistics
Q300 English studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 15:11
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 18:17

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics