Jacob L. Mey

Jacob Louis Mey (born 30 October 1926, in Amsterdam) is a professor of linguistics, specializing in pragmatics. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Institute of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark, from which he retired in 1996.[1][2]

Jacob L. Mey
Born (1926-10-30) 30 October 1926
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Southern Denmark
Thesis (1960)
Doctoral advisorLouis Hjelmslev
Doctoral studentsRoger Schank


Mey received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Copenhagen in 1960, supervised by Louis Hjelmslev.[3] He has also worked at the University of Oslo, the University of Texas at Austin, Georgetown University, Yale University, Tsukuba University, The National Language Research Institute, Tokyo, Northwestern University, the City University of Hong Kong, the University of Frankfurt, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Universidade de Brasília, the University of Haifa and Haifa Technion, Södertörn University College, and Örebro University.[2]

Until 2010, he was chief editor of the Journal of Pragmatics, which he founded in 1977 with Hartmut Haberland.[4] He is chief editor of RASK, the international journal of language and communication,[5] and one of the editors of Pragmatics & Society.[6]

He originated the notion of the pragmeme.[7][8]

In 1992 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zaragoza.[4]


Mey has been married to Inger Mey since 1965; they have 5 children.[2]

Selected works

  • Mey, Jacob L. Pragmalinguistics: Theory and Practice (1979) Rasmus Rask Studies in Pragmatic Linguistics 1. ISBN 90-279-7757-7
  • Mey, Jacob L. Whose Language? A Study in Linguistic Pragmatics (1985) Pragmatics & Beyond Companion Series 3. ISBN 90-272-5004-9
  • Mey, Jacob L. Pragmatics: An Introduction (1993) ISBN 0-631-18691-3. 2nd ed. (2001) ISBN 978-0-631-21132-7 [9]
  • Gorayska, Barbara, and Jacob L. Mey. Cognitive technology. Springer London, 1996.
  • Mey, Jacob L. (ed.) Concise Encyclopedia of Pragmatics (1998) ISBN 0-08-042992-0
  • Mey, Jacob L. When Voices Clash: A Study in Literary Pragmatics (2000) Trends in Linguistics 115. ISBN 978-3-11-015821-2
  • Mey, Jacob L. and István Kecskés (eds.). Intention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer (2008) Mouton Series in Pragmatics 4. ISBN 978-3-11-020606-7


  1. Faculty listing, University of Southern Denmark.
  2. Jacob L. Mey's Curriculum Vitae, China Pragmatics Association, May 2004, retrieved 15 November 2010.
  3. http://aigp.eecs.umich.edu/researcher/show/433
  4. author biography, Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2001) p. 402.
  5. RASK at Institute of Language and Communication. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  6. Pragmatics and Society at John Benjamins
  7. Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2001) p. 221: "such a generalized pragmatic act I will call a pragmeme."
  8. Journal of Pragmatics Special Issue, October 2010.
  9. Review by Alessandro Capone, repr. from Linguistics, 1 November 2003.


  • Contributor biography, The handbook of Discourse Analysis, ed. Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen, and Heidi Ehernberger Hamilton, (2001, repr. 2004), ISBN 0-631-20596-9, pp. xv-xvi
  • Jørgen Dines Johansen and Harly Sonne, "Foreword," Pragmatics and Linguistics: Festschrift for Jacob L. Mey on his 60th Birthday 30 October 1986, ed. Jørgen Dines Johansen, Harly Sonne, and Hartmut Haberland (1986) ISBN 87-7492-603-9
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