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Sarah E. Blackwell

Sarah Blackwell
Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Professor of Spanish Linguistics

My main areas of interest in research and teaching include pragmatics (particularly Gricean and neo-Gricean pragmatics), the roles of pragmatics and semantics in language use and interpretation, discourse analysis, cognitive and functional linguistics, discourse reference and anaphora, discourse connectives and markers, Spanish/English contrastive pragmatics, and L2 pragmatics, language learning and applied linguistics. My research has focused on  pragmatic, semantic, and cognitive motivations influencing native Spanish speakers' and L2 Spanish learners' use of referring expressions (e.g., NPs, pronouns, null subjects), linguistic evidence of cognitive and interactional frames in spoken discourse, and the meanings and functions of discourse connectives in Spanish and English. I was Special Issues Editor of the Journal of Pragmatics from 2003-2008 and continue to serve on the editorial board of the journal.


  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2003. Implicatures in Discourse: The Case of Spanish NP Anaphora. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 

Recent Peer Reviewed Research Articles:

  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2022. “Epistemic causality in Spanish narratives as evidence of knowledge frames.” Contexts of Co-Constructed Discourse: Interaction, Pragmatics, and Second Language Applications, Lori Czerwionka, Rachel Showstack, and Judith Liskin-Gasparro (eds.), 136-159. Abingdon, UK and New York: Routledge. (published July, 2021; copyright year 2022)
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2018. "Frames of reference and antecedentless anaphora in Spanish conversation." Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 47, 283-305.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. and Margaret Lubbers Quesada. 2016. “Semantic and pragmatic causal relations in native speaker and L2 learner discourse: The uses of the connective porque in four narrative tasks.” Pragmatics & Language Learning, 37-64.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2016. “Porque in Spanish oral narratives: Semantic porque, (meta)pragmatic porque or both?” Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society, Alessandro Capone and Jacob L. Mey (eds.), 615-651. Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. and Margaret Lubbers Quesada. 2012. “Third-person subjects in native speakers’ and L2 learners’ narratives: Testing (and revising) the Givenness Hierarchy for Spanish.” Selected Proceedings of the 14th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Kimberly Geeslin and Manuel Díaz-Campos (eds.), 142-164. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2010. “Evaluation as a pragmatic act in Spanish film narratives.” Journal of Pragmatics 42, 2945-2963.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2009. “What’s in a pear film narrative? Framing and the power of expectation in Spanish.” Spanish in Context 6.2, 249-299.
  • Quesada, Margaret Lubbers and Sarah E. Blackwell. 2009. “The L2 acquisition of null and overt Spanish subject pronouns: A pragmatic approach.” Selected Proceedings of the 11th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Joseph Collentine, Barbara Lafford, and Maryellen García (eds.), 117-130. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.


Recent Peer Reviewed Book Chapters and Edited Volumes

  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2021. "Implicature and Spanish speaker's meaning." The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Pragmatics, Dale A. Koike and J. César Félix-Brasdefer (eds.), 15-36. Abingdon, UK and New York: Routledge.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2016. “Implicatura y presuposición”. Enciclopedia de lingüística hispánica, Javier Gutiérrez Rexach (ed.), 632-649. London/New York: Routledge.
  • Howe, Chad, Sarah E. Blackwell, and Margaret Lubbers Quesada (eds.). 2013. Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 342 pp.
  • Blackwell, Sarah E. 2012. “Semántica y pragmática: El significado de las palabras vs. el significado del hablante” (Capítulo 1). Modelos y fundamentos de la pragmática y sociolingüística hispánica, Susana de los Heros and Mercedes Niño-Murcia (eds.), 3-28. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.



Undergraduate Courses

  • SPAN 3010                Spanish Cultural Dialogues
  • SPAN (LING) 3050    Introduction to Spanish Linguistics
  • SPAN 4120                Topics in Spanish Semantics and Pragmatics

Graduate Courses

  • SPAN (LING) 6350     Hispanic Linguistics: Theory and Analysis
  • SPAN (LING) 6850     Spanish Applied Linguistics      
  • SPAN (LING) 6950     Spanish Semantics and Pragmatics
  • SPAN (LING) 8010     Topics in Spanish Pragmatics and Discourse             Analysis
  • ROML (LING) 8000    Topics in Discourse Analysis
  • ROML 8000/LING 8080 Topics in Discourse Analysis and Intercultural/Cross-cultural Pragmatics
  • ROML 8000/LING 8080 Seminar in Pragmatic Theory and Applications
  • SPAN (LING) 8950     Advanced Topics in Spanish Pragmatics and  Discourse Analysis


Research Interests:

Spanish pragmatics and semantics, conversation and discourse analysis, applied linguistics


Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh

M.A. in Spanish, Middlebury College, The Spanish School in Madrid

B.S. in Speech and Language Pathology, Northwestern University                 

Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain (Junior year in Madrid)

Articles Featuring Sarah E. Blackwell

Please join us in warmly congratulating Ingrid Abisambra Miccheli on the successful defense of her dissertation, "Cognición y selección de sujetos: Análisis comparativo entre narrativas escritas y orales en el discurso de español como L2". The committee lauded…

More of My Students

PhD (2024), Hispanic Linguistics, Teaching Assistant of Spanish
PhD Student (ABD), Hispanic Linguistics

My Graduate Students


J. Graham Johnson

PhD Student, Hispanic Linguistics,…

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