Dr Kate Scott


I completed my PhD in 2010 at UCL under the supervision of Professor Deirdre Wilson. I then taught at UCL and at Middlesex University before joining Kingston in 2012. My background is in language and linguistics, but my interests are broad and encompass visual communication in various written and non-verbal forms. My publications include work on digitally-mediated communication (hashtags, emoji, memes and clickbait) and I am particularly interested in how context influences the production and interpretation of online communication.

I was Head of Department for Humanities from May 2019 to February 2021, overseeing courses in English, Creative Writing and Philosophy.

I am the School Director for Research, Business and Innovation at the Design School, KSA, and I am the research director for the Writing Cultures Group.

Academic responsibilities

School Director Research & Enterprise


  • PhD in Linguistics
  • MA in Linguistics
  • BA in English Literature with Drama
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults

Teaching and learning

As the head of department for Humanities, I had responsibility for overseeing the learning and teaching across a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. I have designed, taught and assessed modules across all university levels (3-7), and I have supervised a range of undergraduate and taught MA dissertations.

I have a particular interest in developing effective employability-focused modules, and am currently redeveloping materials across two core modules to incorporate live briefs and scenario-based assessments.

As course leader (2017-2020), I oversaw the introduction of criteria-based marking, and I have disseminated this work at a School Learning and Teaching event. The good practice developed in this area is now being rolled out across the department.

I am currently writing a textbook  for Cambridge University Press which is scheduled to be published in 2021.

In 2014 I secured an HEA grant of £1000 to organise a cross-university workshop entitled ‘Teaching in Linguistics: Creativity and Innovation in Practice'. The workshop attracted over 40 registrations from more than 15 institutions throughout the United Kingdom. A range of invited speakers shared innovative practice on a range of topics related to the learning and teaching of English Language and Linguistics

I am an external examiner at the University of Kent.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (SFHEA)

Undergraduate courses taught


My research focuses primarily on the pragmatics of communication, and I have applied ideas from the relevance theory  framework to a range of data and texts. My PhD thesis focused on the pragmatics of reference, and this work has since been published as a monograph by Cambridge University Press. 

I am particularly interested in how ideas from cognitive pragmatics can be applied to new areas including illustration, graphics, and design, and how we can use ideas from relevance theory to understand how users interpret visual stimuli.

I have published on the pragmatics of digitally-mediated communication, focusing on how users adapt their communicative practices based on the multimodal, graphical, and typographical resources available to them in online spaces. I am currently preparing a monograph for Routledge on the Pragmatics of Digital Communication and my journal article on the pragmatics of hashtags has been cited over 100 times. I'm currently preparing papers on the pragmatics of sharing, memes and clickbait.

In a final strand of my research, I have applied ideas from relevance theory to the analysis of texts, including a paper on the typography of written texts. 

I have supervised PhD and MA by Research students working on pragmatics, second language acquisition (Brighton University) and digitally mediated communication. I welcome proposals from prospective PhD or MA by Research students working in pragmatics, visual communication, typography, relevance theory, or digitally-mediated communication. 

I regularly review for a number of academic journals and sit on the scientific committees of two international conferences.

Qualifications and expertise

  • Research Director of Writing Cultures Research Group, Kingston University
  • Co-director of Relevance Researchers' Network

Areas of specialism

  • Pragmatics
  • Digitally-Mediated Communication
  • Typography
  • Reference
  • Relevance Theory

Scholarly affiliations

  • UCL Summer Course in English Phonetics
  • Scientific Committee for EPICS IX International Symposium
  • Scientific Committee for Beyond Meaning International Conference


Number of items: 25.


Scott, Kate (2021) The pragmatics of rebroadcasting content on Twitter : how is retweeting relevant? Journal of Pragmatics, 184, pp. 52-60. ISSN (print) 0378-2166

Scott, Kate (2021) You won't believe what's in this paper! Clickbait, relevance, and the curiosity gap. Journal of Pragmatics, 175, pp. 53-66. ISSN (print) 0378-2166

Scott, Kate (2018) "Hashtags work everywhere" : the pragmatic functions of spoken hashtags. Discourse, Context & Media, 22, pp. 57-64. ISSN (print) 2211-6958

Scott, Kate [Reviewer] (2018) Book Review of: 'Relevance theory : recent developments, current challenges and future directions' by M. Padilla Cruz (ed.). Journal of Pragmatics, 123, pp. 113-115. ISSN (print) 0378-2166

Scott, Kate (2016) Pronouns and procedures : reference and beyond. Lingua, 175-6, pp. 69-82. ISSN (print) 0024-3841

Scott, Kate (2015) The pragmatics of hashtags : inference and conversational style on Twitter. Journal of Pragmatics, 81, pp. 8-20. ISSN (print) 0378-2166

Scott, Kate (2013) Pragmatically motivated null subjects in English: A relevance theory perspective. Journal of Pragmatics, 53, pp. 68-83. ISSN (print) 0378-2166

Scott, Kate (2013) This and that: a procedural analysis. Lingua, 131, pp. 49-65. ISSN (print) 0024-3841

Scott, Kate (2009) A procedural analysis of 'This' and 'That'. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 21, pp. 151-181. ISSN (print) 0956-7194


Scott, Kate (2022) Pragmatics online. Routledge. 192p. (Language and Digital Media) ISBN 9781138368590 (In Press)

Scott, Kate (2020) Referring expressions, pragmatics, and style : reference and beyond. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press. 198p. ISSN (print) 9781107177574

Scott, Kate , Clark, Billy and Carston, Robyn, eds. (2019) Relevance, pragmatics and interpretation. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press. 326p. ISBN 9781108418638

Book Section

Scott, Kate (2021) Contrastive stress in English : meaning, expectations and ostension. In: Ifantidou, Elly , de Saussure, Louis and Wharton, Tim, (eds.) Beyond meaning. Amsterdam, Netherlands : John Benjamins. pp. 29-41. ISBN 9789027209269 (In Press)

Scott, Kate and Jackson, Rebecca (2020) When EVERYTHING STANDS OUT, nothing does : typography, expectations and procedures. In: Piskorska, Agnieszka, (ed.) Relevance theory, figuration and continuity in pragmatics. Amsterdam, The Netherlands : John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 167-192. (Figurative Thought and Language, (8)) ISSN (print) 2405-6944 ISBN 9789027205544

Scott, Kate (2019) Misleading and relevance in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In: Chapman, Siobhan and Clark, Billy, (eds.) Pragmatics and Literature. Amsterdam, The Netherlands : John Benjamins. pp. 94-114. (Linguistic Approaches to Literature, (35)) ISSN (print) 1569-3112 ISBN 9789027204448 (In Press)

Carston, Robyn, Clark, Billy and Scott, Kate (2019) Introduction. In: Scott, Kate , Clark, Billy and Carston, Robyn, (eds.) Relevance, Pragmatics and Interpretation. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-10. ISBN 9781108418638

Scott, Kate (2017) Prosody, procedures and pragmatics. In: Depraetere, Ilse and Salkie, Raphael, (eds.) Semantics and pragmatics : drawing a line. Berlin, Germany : Springer International Publishing. pp. 323-341. (Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning, (11)) ISBN 9783319322452

Scott, Kate (2011) Beyond Reference: Concepts, Procedures and Referring Expressions. In: Escandell-Vidal, Victoria , Leonetti, Manuel and Ahern, Aoife, (eds.) Procedural Meaning: Problems and Perspectives. Bingley, U.K. : Emerald Group Publishing Limited. pp. 183-203. (Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface, 25(25)) ISSN (print) 1472-7870 ISBN 9780857240934

Conference or Workshop Item

Scott, Kate (2019) You won’t believe what’s in this paper! The pragmatics of clickbait. In: Approaches to Digital Discourse Analysis - ADDA 2; 23 - 25 May 2019, Turku, Finland. (Unpublished)

Scott, Kate (2019) Relevance theory and layering in dramatic works. In: Pragmatics and literature : a study day at the University of Sussex; 22 Feb 2019, Brighton, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Scott, Kate (2018) "The popular orange vegetables" : culture, context and definite descriptions. In: 8th International Symposium on Intercultural, Cognitive and Social Pragmatics (EPICS VIII) : "Communication, Culture and Cognition"; 02 - 04 May 2018, Seville, Spain. (Unpublished)

Scott, Kate and Jackson, Rebecca (2017) When EVERYTHING STANDS OUT nothing does : typography, expectations and procedures. In: Beyond Meaning : International Conference; 13 - 15 Sep 2017, Athens, Greece. (Unpublished)

Scott, Kate (2017) Ostension, expectations and non-encoded meaning. In: Beyond Meaning : International Conference; 13 - 15 Sep 2017, Athens, Greece. (Unpublished)

Scott, Kate (2016) Lies, misleading and the role of inference in Twelfth Night : a relevance-theoretic analysis. In: PALA 2016 : In/Authentic Styles : Language, Discourse and Contexts; 27 - 30 Jul 2016, Cagliari, Italy. (Unpublished)


Scott, Kate (2010) The relevance of referring expressions: the case of diary drop in English. (PhD thesis), University College London, .

This list was generated on Tue Oct 19 07:14:52 2021 BST.

Leadership and management

I am currently the School Director of Research, Business and Innovation in the Design School, KSA, overseeing the research and enterprise activities across the departments of Graphic Design, Illustration Animation, Fashion and 3D Design.

Between May 2019 and February 2021 I was the head of department for Humanities, School of Arts, Culture and Communication. I oversaw the day-to-day running of the Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in  humanities subjects, and I also had overall responsibility for the Kingston Language Scheme (KLS) and the English for Academic and Professional Development Programme (EAPD) provision.

University responsibilities

  • School Director of Research, Business and Innovation
  • Head of Department (May 2019 - February 2021)

Videos of my work

Social media

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