Online course in Relevance Theory and Pragmatics


The Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College London is pleased to announce a graduate online distance learning course in relevance theory and pragmatics, running from January to May 2004. Preliminary questions, indications of interest for future presentations or requests for information can be sent to Stefanie Anyadi, Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


The course draws on the expertise in pragmatics at UCL, with input from Professor Deirdre Wilson, co-author of 'Relevance: Communication and Cognition' and Dr. Robyn Carston, author of 'Thoughts and Utterances: The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication' (both books will be recommended reading). It will be provided via an interactive website, with course content and class discussions accessible online using an ordinary web-browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator see below for details of computer requirements). The course is modular, with ten units, each covering an area of pragmatic theory. The syllabus includes Grice's contribution to modern pragmatics, the foundations of relevance theory, explicit and implicit communication, metaphor and irony. Assessment will be by coursework, and an essay towards the end of the course.


Applicants should have at least an undergraduate degree and preferably some background in linguistics, philosophy or psychology, and a level of proficiency in English suitable for graduate study. They will need internet access for the duration of the course, but need not have access to a university library since most required reading will be made available online.


The cost of the pilot course is 385. (It is anticipated that the cost will be rather higher in subsequent years.) A payment form and the regulations for cancellation and refunds are available online.


Upon successful completion of the course, we will provide a certificate of completion, an assessment of your work and a short report. If you are attending an academic institution which allows credit for external courses, you should be able to get official credit for the pilot course by resubmitting your work.


Frequently asked questions




Computer requirements


Advised minimum specifications for a Windows system


Processor: Pentium 166MHz

Memory (RAM): 16MB

Operating system: Windows 98 or later

Hard disk capacity: 2GB

Video card: VGA graphics with 2MB video RAM

Screen resolution: 640x480, 256 colors

Common items: 56kbps (V90) modem and access to the Internet

Application software: Word-processor capable of producing rich text files (.rtf) or another format readable by Word 97

Recent Web-browser, e.g. Internet Explorer 4.0 or later, Mozilla 1.0 or later.


Comparable Apple Macintosh or Linux systems will be fine as long as they have a recent web-browser and word-processing software capable of producing rich text files (.rtf)



Author: Stefanie Anyadi, 29 January 2004

UCL Phonetics & Linguistics