Volume 15, Issue 2, 2015
Cognitive Pragmatics and Variational Pragmatics
In this paper I attempt to look into a possible way in which cognitive pragmatics can help out variational studies in explaining the processes of language change. After broadly setting the scene this article proceeds by giving basic information about variational pragmatics. Then it concentrates on Sperber and Wilson’s relevance theory and its possible interaction with social sciences, namely its possible application in sociolinguistics. I next present my own research of Split (urban) dialect/vernacular change where I concentrate on explanatory side, asking which explanation would be the best one for the changes of some variables in the dialect. The interpretation and discussion of the fi ndings preceed the discussion of salience as the explanatory tool for language change as seen from cognitivists and variationists with the hope that such discussions can bring closer cognitivists, i.e. relevantists, to sociolinguists, i.e. variationists.