The role of inference and inferencing in pragmatic models of communication

Chi-Hé Elder, Michael Haugh

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


Inference is central to pragmatic theories of meaning and communication, but most studies of inference to date have been undertaken in adjacent fields rather than in pragmatics. The aim of this special issue is to bring together pragmatic perspectives on inference in order to further our understanding of the role that inference - as both a product and a process - plays in pragmatic models of communication. This aim is realised through a set of six papers that collectively address key questions arising when we go beyond the traditional focus in pragmatics on inferences by the hearer about the speaker's intended meaning. These articles draw from a range of different methodological and theoretical standpoints to examine the inferential, interactional, and developmental processes that underpin different types of pragmatic inference. It is concluded that more sophisticated theoretical accounts of pragmatic inference are needed to account for the wide range of inferential phenomena that can be empirically observed in communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date20 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2024


  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Inference
  • Intention
  • Meaning

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