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Conference Information

Full Title: Mapping Expected/Unexpected Meaning in Language

Short Title: GReG- P.L.S. III
Location: Paris Ouest Nanterre, France
Start Date: 25-Jan-2013 - 26-Jan-2013
Contact: Martine Sekali
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: To build on the epistemology developed in the previous GReG Conferences (PLS. I and PLS. II), the GReG PLS III Linguistics Conference proposes to investigate the mapping of linguistic parameters involved in the elaboration of meaning. For its third conference, the GReG Research Group wishes to gather researchers from various theoretical frameworks in linguistics to analyze the linguistic parameters involved in the elaboration of expected/unexpected meaning. What are the linguistic processes at work in the elaboration of semantic representations which are identified as salient, unexpected, counter-expected, or associated with a modality of inter-subjective discordance?

The conference aims to define these semantic « re-routing » processes in linguistics:

- Linguistic processes of opposition and restriction (My brother who lives in Canada is bald), negation (I’m not your mother), argumentative or controversial reassertion (I do love you), negotiation of meaning, counter orientation (He’s a cop but he isn’t a bastard), etc.
- The impact of prosody on this type of assertive modality and subjective endorsement
- Adverbs, (ex: still, yet etc.), or lexemes (verbal, nominal, adverbial, postpositions) which define a three-term dynamic in elaboration of meaning
- The positive or negative evaluation of events with respect to an expected scenario, ex: should, would, etc.
- Orientation, choice, semantic forking, alternative branching: will vs may, if vs whether, hope vs wish, unless, etc., counterfactual vs. potential values, etc.
- Parentheses, appositions (Voici quelques bananes, à usage (alimentaire) collectif)
- Ellipses and a-syndetic relations, ‘anticipatory’ utterances (expected meaning)
- Suspensive clauses: Hands up or…
- Discourse markers such as you know, I mean… which define inter-subjective relations and semantic adjustments
- Linguistic marking of irony, humour, implicit linguistic constructions
- Stonewalling, spin, and deliberate non-construction of meaning

In all occurrences of these phenomena, at least three questions should be asked: what exactly is expected or unexpected within these semantic representations, the actual validation of the predication, the modality of this validation, its location relative to time, space and speakers? To whom is the semantic representation considered unexpected or expected? What are the markers and constructions which instruct these operations, and how do these operations interact?

Associated with this, we wish to investigate the way in which an intermediate/parallel referential space is set up (whether explicit or implicit), which serves as counterpoint for these representations. The nature of this semantic zone will be studied, as well as the linguistic parameters which are responsible for its very presence and the elaboration/deviation of its content. As far as the nature and definition of these third terms (or intermediate meanings) is concerned, we shall seek to differentiate the extra-linguistic assumptions (topoï), which depend on the subjects’ knowledge of the world, from intermediate representations which are constructed ‘online’ by and within language. For this conference we will only focus on the latter.
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics; Semantics; Syntax
LL Issue: 24.239

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