The ideas that mark modern-day pragmatics are old, but did not start to get
more systematically developed until the 1960s and 1970s. Still, the very
recognition of pragmatics as a self-standing academic discipline is a product
of the 1980s, not least made possible by the establishment of the
International Pragmatics Association. One scholar in particular has devoted
his life both to IPrA and to the discipline.
This volume pays homage to Jef Verschueren on the occasion of his 60th
birthday. It celebrates him for his long-standing dedication as Secretary
General of IPrA and for his scholarly contributions to the field. We owe to Jef
Verschueren the insight that the processes through which language users (do
or do not) achieve understanding among each other in communication can
only be fully comprehended if approached from a pragmatic perspective, i.e.
if understanding is pragmaticized.
The chapters in this book are written by scholars who, like Jef Verschueren,
have played a key role in the genesis and development of the field, and who
still actively contribute to its advancement today. Each author looks back,
evaluates the present, and takes on new challenges.