Theoretical models and pragmatic disorders

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the contribution of theory to clinical pragmatics. It is argued that that contribution has not been as substantial as it might have been over the years. Nonetheless, there is theoretical input into clinical pragmatics which warrants detailed, critical examination. The source of the lack of theory in clinical pragmatics is traced to the disciplines which have shaped this field of study. Principally, these disciplines are pragmatics and language pathology. It is argued that there are features of these disciplines which have poorly equipped them to deliver the type of theory which is most suitable for clinical pragmatics. To this end, a distinction is made between strong and weak cognitively-oriented pragmatic theories. The chapter examines the content of theories which have been influential in clinical pragmatics. These theories are relevance theory, cognitive pragmatics theory and modular pragmatics theory. Several studies which have employed these theoretical frameworks to examine pragmatic skills in subjects with clinical disorders are discussed. These frameworks are critically evaluated from a clinical pragmatic perspective. The implications of this evaluation for future theory construction in clinical pragmatics are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815


  • Cognitive modularity
  • Cognitive pragmatics
  • Pragmatic module
  • Pragmatic theory
  • Relevance theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

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