CfP: Discourse Markers and Experimental Pragmatics
Discourse Markers and Experimental Pragmatics (IPrA panel, July 26 to 31, 2015)
From a cognitive approach to discourse, utterance interpretation is widely assumed to be performed by means of inferential computations. As a result, it is expectable for languages to have specific devices at their disposal that minimize the addressee’s cognitive effort in her aim to process the meaning of what is uttered.
Due to their fundamentally procedural meaning (cf. Blakemore 1987, 2002; Blass 1990; Wilson & Sperber 1993, Fraser 1999 among many others), discourse markers constrain the inferential processes in communication guiding the hearer or reader to the expectable cognitive effects and contributing to minimize her processing effort. As a result, as intentional communication devices, it seems plausible that discourse markers could constitute an attentional focus in discourse comprehension and production.
Compared to the abundance of descriptive studies based on observation, experimental studies on discourse markers are still rather scarce. However, evidence from experiments of a psychological nature can give a good account of the reactions (processing efforts) to given stimuli (utterances), what at the same time could help confirming or discarding hypothesis obtained by other approaches to pragmatic research (Noveck & Sperber 2004). Therefore, the aim of our panel is precisely to create a forum for scientific discussion in which complementary experimental approaches to the study of discourse markers can be presented.
Contributions for oral presentations dealing with one or several of the following specific questions are welcome:
- As functional categories with a mainly procedural meaning that guides the hearer’s inferences in communication, do discourse markers condition the processing effort of utterances, and if so, is this operational meaning language-specific?
- Do discourse markers influence utterance and discourse comprehension? How is such influence exerted?
- Do different types of discourse markers play different roles as inference-guiding devices or do they display a unitary behaviour for discourse interpretation?
- Does the contribution of discourse markers to utterance interpretation depend on their specific semantic and syntactic properties, and on their interaction between such properties and other utterance elements? How does this interaction exactly take place?
- How can experimental evidence contribute to confirming, discarding or revising theoretical claims about the procedural meaning of discourse markers?
- What are the limits and the empirical and theoretical possibilities for experimental pragmatics concerning discourse markers research?
For abstract submissions, please follow the official IPrA instructions as stated on its website (http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE14&n=1473). Abstracts –min. 250 and max. 500 words not including references and data– must be sent only through the web-based procedure via the IPrA website by 15 October 2014. Every panelist will be allotted a 20-minute slot plus 10 minutes for discussion. Please note that an IPrA membership is necessary both for submitting a contribution and for presenting during the conference. IPrA strongly encourages younger scholars to submit abstracts.
Organization: Óscar Loureda, Adriana Cruz, Inés Recio, Research group DPKog (Universität Heidelberg)