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Professor Deirdre Wilson FBA

Deirdre Wilson profile picture

About this Fellow

Deirdre Wilson is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at University College London and a Research Professor of Philosophy and co-director (with Herman Cappelen) of the Linguistic Agency project at the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature, University of Oslo. Her main research interests are in communication and theoretical pragmatics: her long-standing collaboration with Dan Sperber (Relevance: Communication and Cognition, Blackwell, 1986/95; Meaning and Relevance, Cambridge University Press, 2012) has led to publications on a wide variety of pragmatic topics, from disambiguation and reference resolution to rhetoric, style and the interpretation of literary works. Her novel Slave of the Passions (Picador, 1991) was shortlisted for two prizes and she has just completed a second.



Current post

  • Professor of Linguistics, University College London

Past Appointments

  • Lecturer, Reader, Professor of Linguistics, University College London, 1970


Meaning and Relevance 2012

Presuppositions and Non-Truth Conditional Semantics 1975

Modern Linguistics: The Results of Chomsky's Revolution 1979

Relevance: Communication and Cognition 1995 (second edition)

Other Linguistics and Philology Fellows

Professor Dan Sperber

Cognition, communication and culture in an evolutionary perspective; anthropological fieldwork in Ethiopia, theoretical and experimental work in linguistic pragmatics and in cognitive psychology

Professor Elizabeth Traugott

Historical linguistics; semantic change, cognitive and interactional pragmatics; theories of grammaticalisation and construction grammar

Professor Paul Kiparsky

Phonology, morphology, historical linguistics, metrics, and the Sanskrit grammatical tradition. The relation between word structure and sentence structure, and the principles governing language change.

Professor Jenny Cheshire

Sociolinguistics; language change in multilingual urban centres, adolescent language, language & education, syntactic & discourse variation, syntax of spoken English.