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A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Louise Cummings


A multidisciplinary analysis of linguistic pragmatics

Louise Cummings argues that no study of pragmatics can reasonably neglect the historical and contemporary influences on this discipline of neighbouring fields of enquiry, particularly, philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence and language pathology. By the same token these fields can begin to address their own questions more productively by examining the insights of pragmatics. The book's range of topics and depth of analysis will be of interest to students and specialised readers in linguistics, communication studies, speech and language therapy and cognitive science.

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1. The Multidisciplinary Nature of Pragmatics
2. Theories of Meaning
3. Inferences
4. Relevance Theory
5. Pragmatics and Mind
6. Argumentation and Fallacies of Reasoning
7. Habermas and Pragmatics
8. Artificial Intelligence and Pragmatics
9. Language Pathology and Pragmatics
10. Beyond Disciplines.

About the Author

Louise Cummings is a Reader in Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University.


Pragmatics is complex and riven with fierce controversy - not so much a field as a minefield. In this excellent book, Louise Cummings provides a lucid guide to many of these disagreements. … This is an outstanding book that will challenge students in exactly the right way.
- Times Higher Education Supplement
The book makes a strong case for investigating pragmatics from a multidisciplinary perspective. Well written and insightful, it constitutes a valuable addition to the existing pragmatics literature
- The Asian EFL Quarterly
The relationships of pragmatics with other disciplines involving the study of language and cognition should become more widely understood. Cummings's book is an important effort toward accomplishing that objective.
- Cognitive Systems Research
The strength of this book is in the systematic discussion of a new approach to pragmatics and assumptions concerning interrelations between neighbouring areas of inquiry.
- Multilingua
One must mention the remarkable richness of the multidisciplinary material included in this book. It draws on wide-ranging data and insights from relevant fields that can inform and be informed by a theory of linguistic pragmatics... The book, however, is an essential reference for graduate studetns as well as scholars working in linguistic pragmatics and other related disciplines.
- Mohammed Farghal, Kuwait University, Critical Enquiry in Language Studies
Throughout this work, Cummings makes a strong, indeed persuasive, case for the reciprocal relationship between pragmatics and a number of other diverse disciplines, inculding artificial intelligence, cognitive science, linguistics, and philosophy… For all scholars working in pragmatics or interested in its influences, Cumming's text provides a rich addition to the field.
- The Modern Language Journal
Advancing several interesting arguments, Cumming’s book offers fascinating reading for scholars of pragmatics
- Year's Work in English Studies
An important contribution to reconsidering the current status of pragmatics.
- Aleksandar Carapic, General Limguistics, University of Belgrade, Discourse Studies
It functions like Levinson’s seminal survey in contrasting and tying together historical strands of thought, examining explanations for how meaning interpretation works. This book, however, also suggests many new paths whereby pragmatic fields of investigation can be applied to other areas, such as exploring the ability of patients with neurological damage and schizophrenia to use implicature, or discussing how inferences are exploited in scientific reporting. The tone is serious and the base of scholarly research is evident throughout… an excellent choice for readers who want both more historical depth as well as a guide to the current breadth of scholarly work in pragmatics.
- Laurel Smith Stvan, University of Texas at Arlington, Cognitive Linguistics
The volume will be a useful resource for anyone with an interest in pragmatics, its issues and related disciplines, from a general undergraduate audience to someone with specific scholarly interests. It serves to advance the status of linguistic pragmatics leading to real multidisciplinary prospects.
- Discourse Studies