Linguistics meets economics: Dealing with semantic variation


  • Adam D. Clark-Joseph
  • Brian D. Joseph



variation, semantics, communicative act, Grice, transaction, economics


We explore here what happens in conversation when listeners encounter variation as well as change in semantics. Working within a general Gricean framework, and in ways somewhat akin to the “Cheap Talk” model of Crawford and Sobel (1982) and the “Rational Speech Act” model of Goodman and Frank (2016), we develop here a transactional view of communicative acts, based largely on insights drawn from economics. Taking a novel perspective, we build on what happens when communication misfires rather than examining what makes for successful communication. We see this effort as a demonstration of the utility of taking an economic perspective on linguistic issues, specifically the analysis of communicative acts.




How to Cite

Clark-Joseph, Adam D., and Brian D. Joseph. 2020. “Linguistics Meets Economics: Dealing With Semantic Variation”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 5 (2): 67–74.