Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


When it comes to the communication of affect, there is an assumption that the non-verbal dimension of human communication is at least as important as the verbal one, if not more so. This observation, however, has been of virtually no concern to linguists. The non-verbal contributions to linguistic communication were left behind by the so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ of the 60s and 70s (Hecht and Ambady 1999) as generative linguists abstracted away from paralinguistic phenomena in order to focus on the linguistic code. Some functionalist linguists, discourse analysts and sociologists continued to address aspects of non-verbal communicative behaviour (see, for example, Bolinger 1983; Goodwin 1981; Brown and Yule 1981; Garfinkel 1967; Goffmann 1964; Gumperz 1971; Hymes 1972; Schiffrin 1994), but distinctions that are important from a pragmatic view have been left relatively unexplored. The question of how that 93 per cent of behaviours might interact with the seven per cent is largely ignored. Those of us who work in pragmatics can afford ourselves no such luxury. Firstly, the aim of a pragmatic theory is to explain how utterances are understood, and utterances, of course, have both linguistic and non-linguistic properties. Secondly, the emotional dimension to speaker meaning is at least as important, often more important, than those dimensions that tend to receive more attention. Any pragmatic theory worth its salt simply must have a view on non-verbal communicative behaviours and how they contribute to speakers’ meanings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics
EditorsA. Barron, G. Steen, G. Yueguo
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781315668925
ISBN (Print)9780415531412
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Paralanguage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this