Manuel Padilla Cruz

Universidad de Sevilla

In relevance-theoretic pragmatics, ad hoc concept construction is contended to be enacted automatically and to be hence exempt from linguistic mandate. Although it is portrayed as a free enrichment process (Carston 2000, 2010a, 2010b; Jary 2016), relevance theorists admit that the output of ad hoc concept construction may be determined by co-occurring linguistic and paralinguistic material in the linguistic input, preceding discourse or contextual assumptions manifest to the hearer. However, the type of linguistic material that determines it has not duly been explored.

This talk will argue that the need for ad hoc concept construction may be overtly indicated by a variety of linguistic elements in the input. Additionally, such elements would steer its output by making manifest a variety of assumptions concerning the speaker’s psychological states and epistemic stance, or characteristics of what is denoted by an open-class word. The elements triggering and directing ad hoc concept construction will be shown to fall into various groups: morphological, lexical, phrasal and clausal elements (Padilla Cruz 2020a, 2022, In press a, b).


Carston, Robyn. 2000. Explicature and semantics. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 12, 1-44.

Carston, Robyn. 2010b. Metaphor: Ad hoc concepts, literal meaning and mental images. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (3), 295-321.

Jary, Mark. 2016. Rethinking explicit utterance content. Journal of Pragmatics 102, 24-37.

Padilla Cruz, Manuel. 2020a. Towards a relevance-theoretic approach to the diminutive morpheme. Russian Journal of Linguistics 24 (4), 774-795.

Author. 2022. Is free enrichment always free? Revisiting ad hoc-concept construction. Journal of Pragmatics 187, 130-143.

Author. In press a. On the interpretation of utterances with expressive expletives. Pragmatics & Cognition.

Author. In press b. Ad hoc concepts, affective attitude and epistemic stance. Pragmatics & Cognition.