Pragmatics, Semiotics, Critical Linguistics

Pragmatics in Semiotics: Bakhtin/Volosinov
In this paper I explore what Bakhtin's contribution to pragmatics was and is.

Linguistics and the Critique of Domination
An extended critique of the East Anglia school of Critical Linguistics, represented in the two books Language and Control by Roger Fowler and others and Language and Ideology by Gunther Kress and Roger Hodge

Relevance, Contextual Effects and Least Effort
A fairly technical review of the first edition of Sperber and Wilson's Relevance which includes discussion of criticisms by Gazdar and Good. Focus is on concepts of relevance, context, and least effort. Material of interest to students of literary theory is given prominence in the second half of the review, with cross-references to Bakhtin/Volosinov

How is understanding an advertisement possible?
This study extends the theories and methods of linguistic pragmatics (Austin, Grice, Searle, Sperber and Wilson) into the analysis of visual advertising imagery. It extends and revises the approach pioneered in semiology/semiotics by Roland Barthes.

How to do things in dreams
This essay presents Freud's theory of dream meaning as a pragmatic theory about the meaning of symbols in use, rather than a semantic (dictionary) theory of the kind which led to the production of the dream books and dream dictionaries and which Freud criticises in The Interpretation of Dreams. Ideas from contemporary philosophical and linguistic pragmatics are used to re-present Freud's theories. So too is Chomsky's distinction between linguistic competence and performance

Claude Levi-Strauss, The Way of the Masks (La Voie des Masques)
Claude Levi Strauss, The Way of the Masks (La Voie des Masques) provides an accessible introduction to his structuralism, including the concepts of opposition and diacritical meaning. The essay seeks to show how diacritical meaning on the axis of structure can emerge out of dialogue on the axis of history. Levi Strauss is thus linked to Bakhtin and Bourdieu.

Communicating with Computer Programs: The Pragmatics of Human-Computer Interaction
Gives an account of human-computer interaction using concepts from pragmatics (Grice, Watzlawick) and Bateson's concept of play. Argues that the impersonality of computer programs has advantages in relation to learning and creativity. Connections are made to the philosophy of science (Feyerabend, Popper) and to Habermas.

L'Empire des Signes
Remarks on Roland Barthes, L'Empire des Signes