Chapter 3. Relevance Theory and Communication Disorders

  1. Martin J. Ball Head Past President2,
  2. Dr. Michael R. Perkins Professor founder member Vice-President3,
  3. Dr. Nicole Müller2 and
  4. Sara Howard Senior Lecturer speech-language therapist pathologist President3
  1. Eeva Leinonen Professor Vice-Chancellor and
  2. Nuala Ryder Fellow

Published Online: 6 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444301007.ch3

The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics

The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics

How to Cite

Leinonen, E. and Ryder, N. (2008) Relevance Theory and Communication Disorders, in The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics (eds M. J. Ball, M. R. Perkins, N. Müller and S. Howard), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444301007.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Louisiana, Lafayette, USA

  2. 3

    Department of Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK

Author Information

  1. University of Hertfordshire, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 28 MAR 2008

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405135221

Online ISBN: 9781444301007



  • relevance theory and communication disorders;
  • clinical pragmatics - awareness communication difficulties not attributed to ‘purely’ linguistic problems;
  • Relevance Theory - useful theoretical framework investigating theory-of-mind abilities in autistic children;
  • Relevance Theory (RT) - explaining how hearer infers speaker's meaning on evidence provided;
  • developmental disorders;
  • acquired disorders;
  • language disorder studies using Relevance Theory - validated predictions of pragmatic complexity made by RT


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Introducing Relevance Theory

  • Developmental Disorders

  • Acquired Disorders

  • Conclusions

  • References