My teaching and research interests cover a broad range of language and linguistics-related topics. My research interests are all connected in some way with linguistic meaning (linguistic semantics and pragmatics), usually within the framework of relevance theory. I have a particular interest in how meanings are created and negotiated in specific contexts. I'm currently working on research in three areas: prosodic meaning, stylistics and the inferential processes involved in writing.
I am currently supervising research students working on the interpretation of irony in a second language, experimental syntactic investigations of explicit grammar teaching, metaphor in the mind and body, and the persuasive use of metaphor in written discourse.
PhD in Linguistics, University College London 1991
Diploma in Linguistics, University College London 1986
MA English Language and Literature, University of Aberdeen 1985
Linguistic semantics, linguistic pragmatics, prosodic meaning, pragmatic stylistics, experimental pragmatics
Language and linguistics, language and psychology, language in media discourse, linguistic meaning (semantics and pragmatics), meaning in context, media meanings, research methods, stylistics, writing
I am currently involved in research in three areas. My work on pragmatic stylistics explores how relevance theory can be applied in accounting for the inferential processes of readers, writers and editors, and in accounting for literary interpretation and evaluation. I have begun working with colleagues in other universities to compare and contrast relevance-theoretic with other 'post-Gricean' and 'neo-Gricean' approaches. My work on prosodic meaning has developed specific proposals for meanings of nuclear tones in English within a relevance-theoretic framework. I am now involved in a collaborative project to explore the nature of prosodic meaning more fully, to explore affective dimensions of prosodic meaning, and to explore connections with musical interpretation. With Dr. Nicola Owtram (European University Institute, Florence), I have begun to develop a fuller account of inferential processes involved in writing, and to apply this in teaching. I coordinate a PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association) Special Interest Group on Pragmatic Stylistics and have organised a number of international workshops on this topic. I am a member of the editorial board of the journal English Language & Linguistics, published by Cambridge University Press.
I currently teach a number of BA and MA courses at Middlesex, and supervise BA, MA, MPhil and PhD students. I am involved in a number of other academic activities, including BA and MA programme development, chairing and acting as a panel member for validation and review events, appraisal and mentoring. I have been external examiner and assessor for validations and reviews at many institutions and have been a member of several external committees, including work with the Higher Education Academy, the Linguistics Subject Centre and the Quality Assurance Agency. I am a member of a Subject Centre Special Interest Group on Language and Linguistics at School, and the UK Linguistics Olympiad committee. With Dr. Graeme Trousdale (University of Edinburgh) I have taught a residential course on Linguistics ('How To Be A Language Detective') for Gifted and Talented A Level students every year since 2007. This takes place at Villiers Park, the home of the Villiers Park Educational Trust. In 2012, we also offered a course on language meaning and change for English Language students. I was a Senior Teaching Fellow in Pragmatics at University College London in 2009-2010. I have listed some recent publications and conference presentations below. You can find more information, including a fuller list of talks and publications, and some downloadables, at my personal website:
Clark, B. In press. Relevance Theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Clark, B. In press. Procedures and Prosody: Understanding weak communication. To appear in Liedtke, F. and C. Schulze (eds.) Beyond Words: Content, context and inference. Mouton Series in Pragmatics, De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin.
Clark, B. 2012. The Relevance of Tones: Prosodic meanings in utterance interpretation and in relevance theory. Linguistic Review 29.4: 643-661.
Clark, B. 2012. Beginning withOne More Thing: Pragmatics and editorial intervention in the work of Raymond Carver. Journal of Literary Semantics 41.2: 155-174.
Clark, B. and G. Trousdale. 2012. The Language Detective: A course for young linguists. Language and Linguistics Compass 6.8: 506-516.
Clark, B. 2012. Pay No Attention To This Article: From Grice to relevance theory. Emagazine 58: 24-27.
Clark, B. and N. Owtram. 2012. Imagined Inference: Teaching writers to think like readers. In Burke, M., Czabo, S., Week, L. and J. Berkowitz (eds.) Current Trends in Pedagogical Stylistics. Continuum, London: 126-141.
Clark, B. 2011. Recent developments in relevance theory. In Grundy, P. and D. Archer (eds.) The Pragmatics Reader. Routledge, London: 129-137.
Clark, B. and G. Trousdale. 2011. Looking for clues: How to be a language detective. Emagazine 51: 14-16.
Clark, B. 2009. Salient Inferences: Pragmatics and The Inheritors.Language and Literature 18.2: 173-213.
Clark, B. 2009. Linguistics in schools. In Malmkjaer, K. (ed.) The Linguistics Encyclopedia, 3rdedition. Routledge, London: 358-362.
Forthcoming, July 2013. ‘It’s no longer your film’: Salient inferences and the work of David Lynch. Paper to be presented in Pragmatic Stylistics Workshop at Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, 31 July – 4 August 2013.
Forthcoming, April 2013. ‘I wrote these words to fill this space’: Pragmatics, Art and the Humanities. Paper to be presented at Conginitive Futures of the Humanities conference, University of Wales Bangor, 4th-6th April, 2013.
Forthcoming, March 2013. 'Contexts, inferences and style'. Invited keynore presentation at 5th Nitra Conference on Topics in Linguistics. University of Constantine the Philosopher, Nitra.
July 2012. ‘More or less all right’: Reading and evaluating the work of Wendy Cope and Lydia Davis. Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference, University of Malta.
May 2012. 'Salient inferences: Relevance theory and literary stylistics'. Invited paper presented at Colloquium on Pragmatics and Stylistics, University of Sussex.
March 2012. ‘Relevance theory, literary interpretation and literary value’. Paper presented at EPICS V, 5th International Symposium on Intercultural, Cognitive and Social Pragmatics. Pablo de Olivade University, Seville.
September 2011: ‘Relevance and multimodality.’ Invited keynote presentation at 'Analysing Multimodality: Systemic Functional Linguistics meets Pragmatics’. Loughborough University.
July 2011. ‘The semantics and pragmatics of prosody: Integrating prosodic meanings in utterance interpretation’. Paper presented in panel on ‘Cognitive Pragmatics and its interfaces in linguistics’. International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), 3-8 July 2011.
May 2011: ‘Writing, reading and interpretation. Pragmatic inference, stylistics and literary studies.’ Invited keynote presentation at ‘Interfaces 3’. Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury.
November 2010: ‘What writers mean. Pragmatic stylistics and Raymond Carver’s Beginners.’ Murray Kinloch Lecture. Invited keynote presentation at ‘Vowels Ploughed Into Other’: The Atlantic Provinces Linguistics Association (APLA) conference, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.
May 2010: ‘Before and after words: the online interaction of pragmatics and semantics’. Invited keynote presentation at ‘Beyond the Words: Contextualism, Minimalism and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction’. University of Leipzig.