Pragmatics as the study of how the meaning of spoken and written discourse is related to the context in which that speech and writing occurs. Pragmatics is specifically concerned with how speakers' shared interests and purposes shapes discourse. The role of Pragmatics and Discourse is central to the research of various faculty in the department, from a variety of perspectives, including syntax, semantics, typology and sociolinguistics.
Jürgen Bohnemeyer, PhD specializes in semantic typology, conceptual and formal semantics, the syntax-semantics interface, the semantics-pragmatics interface, linguistic anthropology and Mesoamerican languages.
Matthew S. Dryer, PhD's research includes the relation between syntax and discourse.
Jean-Pierre Koenig, PhD studies how discourse structure helps inferring temporal structure or filling in underspecified semantic representations.
Madeleine Mathiot, PhD and Professor Emeritus studies conversation and has produced a detailed study, Talk in Interactive Events.