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UCL Psychology and Language Sciences

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Prof Robyn Carston

Prof Robyn Carston

Address

107
Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
London
WC1N 1PF

Appointments

  • Professor of Linguistics
    Linguistics
    Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL

1983-10-01

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.

Award year Qualification Institution
1986 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Linguistics
University College London
1980 MA
Master of Arts
Phonetics and Linguistics
University College London
1976 BA Hons
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Linguistics
Victoria University of Wellington
1975 BA
Bachelor of Arts
English Literature
University of Canterbury

Collaborators

Keywords

pragmatics, relevance theory, figurative language, philosophy of language, semantics, legal language, creative language use, cognitive architecture and processing