Rising influence of cognitive sciences on linguistics has been observed recently. This work aims at pointing out which role cognitive effort may play in natural language processing. From a pragmatic perspective various approaches to a plausible definition of cognitive effort are presented. Some introductory sections to pragmatics lead to a discussion on relevance theory. Also, a variety of markedness concepts are introduced. These are examined in regard to their utility for the description of context understood as a psychological construct. Finally, a natural language processing model is used to describe cognitive effort in the light of divers learning models.