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LINGUIST List 25.969

Wed Feb 26 2014

Calls: Semantics/Spain

Editor for this issue: Bryn Hauk <brynlinguistlist.org>

Date: 25-Feb-2014
From: Juana I. Marin-Arrese <juanafilol.ucm.es>
Subject: Evidentiality and the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
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Full Title: Evidentiality and the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface

Date: 06-Oct-2014 - 07-Oct-2014
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact Person: Bert Cornillie
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Call Deadline: 25-Mar-2014

Meeting Description:

International Conference on Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages 2014 (EMEL'14)
Facultad de Filología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,
6-8 October 2014

Workshop convenors:

Bert Cornillie (KU Leuven)
Björn Wiemer (JGU Mainz)

“Evidentiality and the semantics-pragmatics interface”

The target of the workshop is to come to grips with (the relation between) the semantics and pragmatics of evidential expressions.

In line with Boye/Harder (2009), we understand evidentiality as a conceptual domain, regardless of the grammatical vs. lexical status one wants to ascribe to the given linguistic device. However, lexical and grammatical means are likewise results of conventionalization and, in this sense, are to be opposed to meanings which are only calculated/inferred 'online' on the basis of the current discourse. Yet, researchers notoriously face problems when it comes to defining the criteria of conventionalization (grammaticalization or lexicalization) and, even more so, with applying them in the analysis of concrete data.

We advocate a strict distinction between epistemic and evidential meanings from an onomasiological point of view (cf. Aikhenvald 2004; Cornillie 2009; Wiemer/Stathi 2010). In many works on evidential (or other propositional) markers researchers claim to be able to determine whether an evidential marker carries epistemic overtones or, the other way around, that an epistemic marker has acquired (or switched to) an evidential function (cf. Hennemann 2011; 2013; Wiemer/Kampf 2012, among many others). Rarely, however, are such claims accompanied by an explicit indication of how diagnostics has been performed, other than relying on one's intuitions about the language and context. Notwithstanding this problem, there seems to be convergent insight among evidentiality researchers that epistemic overtones can often be captured as (generalised) conversational implicatures (cf., for instance, Faller 2012, Wiemer/Kampf 2012, Korta/Zubeldia 2014). Apart from this notion there might be other concepts and tests that can account for an operative distinction between stably encoded and pragmatically inferred meaning components.

Call for Papers:

We invite papers that address one or several of the topics mentioned below:

- The border region between semantic (sc. encoded) and pragmatic (sc. inferred) meaning in evidential markers (in line with distinctions made, e.g., by Levinson 2007 [1983] and Ariel 2008; cf. also McCready/Ogata 2007, Murray 2010 and Peterson 2010).

- Specific methodologies to distinguish between evidential vs. epistemic functions and the question whether epistemic modality and evidentiality have different functional profiles in different kinds of discourse (e.g. talk-in-interaction, political speeches, academic language, newspaper prose, cf. Cornillie 2011).

- Objectifiable analytic procedures to operationalize notions such as semantic encoding and pragmatic inference. It remains to be discussed what kind of empirical evidence procedures need: questionnaires, corpora, or just on some sort of the researcher's intuition? Complementary approaches are badly needed, such as, for instance, the combination of the analysis of occurrences in natural discourse (as favoured by corpus and other usage-based linguistics) with substitution tests and other manipulations on controlled (and constructed) contexts (favoured by formal semanticists, but also by typologists working with questionnaires for larger amounts of languages).

- Methods that can be used in the analysis of data from diachronically earlier stages of a language. At least here, even linguists who are native-speakers of the given language cannot really rely on their intuitions and ''feeling''.

- The problem of descriptive (language-specific) vs. comparative (cross-linguistically applicable) categories, i.e. the question to which extent evidential markers and functions can be compared across languages and how tertia comparationis should be chosen (or defined). Although Plungian (2001; 2010) and Aikhenvald (2004) have come up with cross-linguistically applicable taxonomies of evidential functions, we are still left with more subtle functional distinctions ''below'' the higher levels of such taxonomies (e.g., perception-based inferentials) and with the question how widespread (and expectable) are functional syncretisms of evidential (inferential or reportive) with epistemic (or other modal) functions (cf. Matthewson, forthcoming). The issue of descriptive vs. comparative categories has been raised, first and foremost, by Haspelmath with respect to grammatical distinctions on levels such as clausal syntax (alignment, argument structure, etc.), case semantics or TAM-marking (cf., e.g., Haspelmath 2010); it has though not yet been applied to markers scoping over higher-level units, such as propositions or illocutions. We feel that evidential and epistemic markers are the ideal object to extend this distinction.

Abstract Submission:

An anonymous copy of your abstract (max. 500 words, excl. references), in Word format, should be submitted via email to: evidentialsgmail.com by March 25, 2014. Please include your name, affiliation and contact details in the text of the email message.

Abstracts should include research questions, approach, method, data and (expected) results.

The workshop convenors will then make a first selection and send all abstracts to the conference organisers.

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