University of Calabria, Rende (Cosenza)

February 2-4, 2023



What words don’t say:

Intercultural, cross-cultural and societal aspects of (in)direct communication



Meeting Description

Pragmatics is a broad discipline encompassing a range of approaches to the study of language and communication in context. Taking the lead from Leech’s words (2014: 77) – “Why is what people say often at variance with what they mean, and how is it that (despite this) we humans can nevertheless more or less understand one another?” –, the conference aims to promote theoretical and applied research on pragmatics as “meaning in interaction” (Thomas, 1995; Culpeper & Terkourafi, 2017), which includes what is conveyed explicitly and implicitly. 


Interlocutors collaborate to establish a joint understanding of what they are talking about by creating a common ground of direct and indirect references that allows them to share, negotiate and mediate meaning(s). Since people communicate through and beyond words, the 'unspoken' needs to be inferred from the context, but what remains implicit in conversation may vary depending on the relationship between the interlocutors, the language(s) they are using, the topic they are discussing, and the social and cultural context in which the interaction occurs (Hall, 1969/1990).


The conference is meant to open a debate on issues relevant to explicit and implicit communication. Research questions can be approached within various frameworks in pragmatics such as neo-Gricean approaches, relevance theory, usage and corpus-based approaches theory of mind, meaning-making, the role of context, the semantics/pragmatics interface, explicature, implicature, grammaticalization, speech act theory, presuppositions, (im)politeness, dialogism, cognitive pragmatics, clinical pragmatics, neuropragmatics, variational pragmatics etc. In addition, insightful contributions can be offered within the neighbouring disciplines of sociolinguistics, conversation analysis and discourse analysis.