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Relevance Theory

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Part of Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521702416

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About the Authors
  • Over the past twenty years, relevance theory has become a key area of study within semantics and pragmatics. In this comprehensive new textbook, Billy Clark introduces the key elements of the theory and how they interconnect. The book is divided into two parts – the first providing an overview of the essential machinery of the theory, and the second exploring how the original theory has been extended, applied and critically discussed. Clark offers a systematic framework for understanding the theory from the basics up, building a complete picture and providing the basis for advanced research across a range of topics. With this book, students will understand the fundamentals of relevance theory, its origins in the work of Grice, the relationship it has to other approaches, and its place within recent developments and debates.

    • Offers a systematic framework for understanding the theory
    • Shows the origins of relevance theory in the work of Grice, the relationship it has to other approaches and its place within recent developments and debates for a comprehensive overview of the subject
    • Worked examples in the text support student learning and exercises test understanding
    • Further resources are available on the web (at to complete the teaching package, including a discussion of each exercise, suggested solutions and extra exercises
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance Praise: 'A beautifully clear, insightful and entertaining overview of relevance theory, which takes readers from first principles to recent developments in a warm, witty and fair-minded way. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in how communication works.' --Deirdre Wilson, University College London

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521702416
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 173 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 3 tables 60 exercises
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Overview:
    1. A first outline
    2. Origins and alternatives: Grice, relevance theory and modern pragmatics
    3. Principles of relevance
    4. Explaining inferences
    Part II. Details and Developments:
    5. Explicature and implicature
    6. Types of explicature
    7. Types of implicature
    8. Lexical pragmatics
    9. Figurative language: metaphor
    10. Figurative language: irony
    11. Linguistic semantics
    12. Conclusion: applications and recent developments
    Appendix: key notions of relevance theory.

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    Relevance Theory

    Billy Clark

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  • Author

    Billy Clark, Middlesex University, London
    Billy Clark is a senior lecturer in English Language in the Department of Media at Middlesex University. He has considerable experience teaching relevance theory at undergraduate and postgraduate level and was editor of the 'Foundations of Linguistics' section for the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics edited by Keith Brown.

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