LINGUIST List 23.2607

Tue Jun 05 2012

Calls: Semantics, Pragmatics, Typology/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <>

Date: 05-Jun-2012
From: Jacques Moeschler <>
Subject: Workshop: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Logical Words
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Full Title: Workshop: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Logical Words Short Title: LogWords
Date: 22-Jul-2013 - 26-Jul-2013 Location: Geneva, Switzerland Contact Person: Jacques Moeschler
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics; Semantics; Typology

Call Deadline: 31-Jul-2012

Meeting Description:

Logical words such as not and the connectives and, or, and if have linguistic counterparts in most if not all natural languages. Nevertheless, their linguistic properties are not identical: many cross-linguistic differences characterize their linguistic realizations (see Mauri 2008). The first purpose of the workshop is to give a general picture about the various ways in which natural languages express logical meanings such as negation, conjunction, disjunction and condition. The second purpose of the workshop is to explore the connection, if there is some, between the logical semantics of negation and connectives and their pragmatic meaning. One observation is that their pragmatic meaning is a restriction on their semantic one: a negative sentence is used to communicate a true negative proposition, and not a false one; a disjunction is typically used in its exclusive and not in inclusive meaning; conditionals are interpreted as bi-conditionals or as counterfactuals, which are both restrictions on the truth-conditions of the material implication; finally, and is pragmatically non symmetrical, because of its temporal and causal meanings. Are these restrictions in meaning universal? And how can we explain the way logical meaning can be connected to the specific uses and meanings of logical words? The third purpose of the workshop is to explore the various ways in which natural languages express the meanings of logical words beyond the content covered in logic: some languages heavily rely on pragmatics (as in French and English), whereas other languages (such as Serbo-Croatian) have specific connectives for pragmatic meanings (cf. the pa/a opposition, respectively, for sequential and non-sequential meanings of and, or the use of the conditional mood both in the antecedent and the consequence in French). Cross-linguistic variation in linguistic form and in the nature of the meaning (linguistic vs. pragmatic) should be systematically and cautiously explored (cf. also Mauri and van der Auwera 2012). Finally, as far as negation is concerned, the relation between the descriptive uses and the metalinguistic ones is still an open question (cf. Moeschler 2010). Is metalinguistic negation a specific echoic use? Or does it involve a much broader domain, that of presupposition and implicature cancellation and of uptailing vs. downtailing uses? If metalinguistic uses cover a broader domain, how can one explain the relations between these multiple uses? And how can we explain the scope properties of negation related to its descriptive and metalinguistic uses? The organizers are expecting contributions on the following topics:

1. Cross-linguistic variation in the morphosyntactic realization of negation and logical connectives2. Cross-linguistic variation in the realization of pragmatic meaning for conjunction, disjunction and conditionals3. The semantic-pragmatic interface of logical words: how to derive pragmatic meanings from logical ones?4. Scope properties of negation, at the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels5. The relation between descriptive and metalinguistic uses of negation6. The connection between presupposition and implicature cancelling uses of metalinguistic negation

Invited Scholars:

Denis Delfitto (Verona, confirmed), Laurence Horn (Yale, confirmed), Toshio Ohori (confirmed, Japon)


Mauri, Caterina (2008). Coordination Relations in the Languages of Europe and Beyond. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Mauri, Caterina & van der Auwera, Johan (2012). Connectives. In: Kasia. M. Jaszczolt and Keith Allan (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Moeschler, Jacques (2010). Negation, scope and the descriptive/metalinguistic distinction. Generative Grammar in Geneva 6, 29-48

Call for Papers:

Instructions for Abstracts:

The organizers would like to fill 3 to 4 slots in the congress schedule, allowing between 10 to 12 contributions of 30 minutes each. Some invitations will be sent to scholars working on cross-linguistic methods and on logical words. We expect to accept 5 to 7 paper proposals.

The proposals (abstract 500 words + bibliography) should be sent directly to the workshop organizers (

The participants to the workshop will be invited to post their abstract on the website of the Congress in fall 2012, after the selection of papers for the parallel sessions.

Deadline: 31 July 2012

Page Updated: 05-Jun-2012