Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

E-mail this page

Conference Information

Full Title: (Pragmatics) Beyond Verbal Communication

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Ryoko Sasamoto
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://
Meeting Description: In recent years, a wide range of communicative phenomena cross-cutting the verbal and non-verbal distinction has begun to attract the attention of scholars in pragmatics. Some of these – emotional tone of voice, interjections, onomatopoeia – have already been addressed within ‘traditional’ linguistics frameworks, and are considered to be located at the edge of language with their roots in a form of sound symbolism. Others – hashtags, emoji, typography – have only recently attracted attention as a result of an increasing interest in the pragmatics of the interaction between verbal and non-verbal modes in a variety of media and communicative genres, including participatory online communication, fandom, and face-to-face communication. In addition, more and more communication is taking place with anonymous, non-singular hearers in mind.

As a cognitively-grounded theory of communication, relevance theory does not limit its application to specific communicative phenomena or specific genres of communication. Rather, it provides a framework in which the interaction between verbal and non-verbal stimuli, and the different ways such stimuli are put to use, might be explored. It accounts for how each ‘mode’ plays a role in a particular context without relying on taxonomies and without treating them as special cases. Indeed, the relevance-theoretic notion of the showing-saying continuum has been applied in the analysis of tone of voice, interjections and onomatopoeia. In addition, it has been shown that uses of other items which would have been considered exceptions (for example online communication and digital media devices such as hashtags), can also be explained in these terms. There are also many works that attempt to unpack the strategies humans employ in online communication from the perspective of politeness or speech act theory.

The fact that many of the notions within pragmatics have been developed with verbal communication in mind means that we are yet to establish precisely what the limits of pragmatic research are, and how existing frameworks can be applied to the under-researched non-verbal communicative phenomena and/or societal aspects of communication mentioned above.

For this panel, we invite papers that discuss how insights and concepts from relevance theory and other pragmatic approaches can be applied to the interaction between verbal and non-verbal communicative stimuli, and to emerging aspects of communication such as participatory communication, communication with plural/imagined audience, and fandom/community. How do we signal to a non-specified audience how to interpret an utterance? How can the interaction between the verbal and the visual modes create extra effects for an audience? How do fandom and community form online?

For further queries, please contact Ryoko Sasamoto ( or Kate Scott (

Conference website:

Panel organisers:
Ryoko Sasamoto, Dublin City University
Kate Scott, Kingston University,
Tim Wharton, University of Brighton
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics
LL Issue: 27.2782

This is a session of the following meeting:
15th International Pragmatics Conference

Calls and Conferences main page