Pragmatics is underpinned by the idea that language use is a form of social action with real world consequences tied to the specific context of language use.
Different theoretical perspectives under a broad conception of pragmatics articulate the notion of social action differently and hence arrive at differing perspectives on the relationships both between language and other forms of social action and between language use and conceptions of context.
Nonetheless, as the range of paper topics in any volume of the IPrA journal Pragmatics will attest, the insights provided by pragmatics research into the essential connections between language use, context and social action facilitate detailed understanding of real world contexts, practices and institutions.
This theme has particular resonance for Belfast because it is a city in the midst of a transition to a post-conflict society and transformations to forms and choices of language and meanings are an implicit and often explicit part of that transition. The theme also has a particular currency for the whole of the UK as, here, the “impact agenda” has come to dominate external evaluations of research which measure the economic and social benefits of research outside of academia.
Alongside the local significance of the theme is the broader significance for a number of branches of research with the international discipline of pragmatics, including:
- Language and Politics
- Language in Forensic Settings
- Language and Education
- Language and Health
- Language in Clinical Settings
- Language and Social Change
- Language and Social Media
- Language and Identity
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