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LINGUIST List 19.500

Tue Feb 12 2008

Confs: General Linguistics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Stephanie Morse <morselinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Markus Steinbach, Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics

Message 1: Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics
Date: 12-Feb-2008
From: Markus Steinbach <steinbacuni-mainz.de>
Subject: Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics
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Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics
Short Title: EPS

Date: 27-Feb-2008 - 29-Feb-2008
Location: Bamberg, Germany
Contact: Markus Steinbach
Contact Email: steinbacuni-mainz.de
Meeting URL: http://www.zitatundbedeutung.uni-mainz.de/eng/350.php

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Meeting Description:

Workshop on Experimental Pragmatics/Semantics (EPS)
This workshop takes place as part of the 30th annual meeting of the Deutsche
Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS), Bamberg, Germany,
27-29 February 2008.

Further information/program:


In recent years, there is a lively debate on an old issue, namely the proper
distinction between semantics and pragmatics. The background is the classical
Gricean distinction between 'what is said' on the one hand and 'what is
implicated' on the other. But how the boundaries are to be drawn is disputed.
Neo-Griceans such as Horn, Levinson, and Atlas by and large defend the
conceptual value of Griceans Maxims or Principles, Relevance Theorists such as
Carston, Sperber, and Wilson argue against such principles altogether and refer
instead to global cognitive principles. However, there is some common belief
into the underdetermination of propositional structures and the need for their
enrichment, giving rise to notions such as explicature, impliciture, and
pragmatic intrusion. Others, like Cappelen, Lepore, and Borg, defend a
minimalist view on truth conditions, and attack contextualists like Récanati who
claims that there is a genuine distinction between c-content and i-content to be

From a linguist's point of view, there has always been a regrettable lack of
empirical data in an otherwise sophisticated debate. Recently, a new strand of
research comes in under the name of experimental pragmatics. Experimental
pragmatics is the attempt to gain experimental data on pragmatic issues by using
psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic methods. For example, research has been
done on reference, felicity conditions, scalar implicatures, irony, and
metaphor. One promising aspect of this research is that competing theories on
the semantics/pragmatics distinction such as relevance theory vs. neo-Gricean
pragmatics may be directly tested. Another aspect is that experiments yield
fresh data that can shed a new light on old topics. Furthermore, developmental
aspects such as the acquisition of scalar implicatures, metaphors, or irony may
be pursued.

In this workshop, we bring together scholars interested in the
semantics/pragmatics distinction as well as scholars that are interested in
experimental research. The workshop will appeal to theoretical linguists,
psycholinguists, neurolinguists, and language philosophers. Particularly welcome
are contributions in semantic and pragmatic development as well as studies of
different languages including spoken and signed languages.

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