LINGUIST List 25.1381

Sat Mar 22 2014

Calls: Historical Linguistics, Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Typology/Italy

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 21-Mar-2014
From: Andrea Sansò <>
Subject: Pragmatic Markers, Discourse Markers and Modal Particle
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Full Title: Pragmatic Markers, Discourse Markers and Modal Particles
Short Title: PragmaComo

Date: 16-Oct-2014 - 17-Oct-2014
Location: Como, Italy
Contact Person: Andrea Sansò
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics; Typology

Meeting Description:

Pragmatic Markers, Discourse Markers and Modal Particles: What do we know and where do we go from here?

Università dell'Insubria, Como (Italy), 16-17 October 2014


The workshop aims to contribute to the discussion on the emergence and use of pragmatic markers (PMs), discourse markers (DMs) and modal particles (MPs). Although classifications diverge in this field, PMs can be broadly defined as markers of functions belonging to the domains of social cohesion (the H-S relationship; e.g. please, danke, etc.), DMs as strategies ensuring textual cohesion (discourse managing; e.g. utterance initial usages of but, anyway, etc.), and MPs as signals of personal stance (the speaker’s perspective towards the discourse and the interlocutor; e.g. German ja, eben etc.). PMs, DMs, and MPs have been the object of extensive investigation. However, their heterogeneous character – i.e. the fact that they derive from many different sources, and that they are multifunctional – has resulted in fragmentary descriptions that fit well the facts of a given language, but may be seriously challenged when one extends the analysis to other languages.

Scientific Committee:

Peter Auer (University of Freiburg), Pierluigi Cuzzolin (University of Bergamo), Silvia Dal Negro (Free University of Bozen), Chiara Fedriani (University of Bergamo), Chiara Ghezzi (University of Bergamo), Anna Giacalone Ramat (University of Pavia), Bernd Kortmann (FRIAS, Freiburg), Gianguido Manzelli (University of Pavia), Caterina Mauri (University of Pavia), Piera Molinelli (University of Bergamo), Paolo Ramat (IUSS Institute), Andrea Sansò (Insubria University - Como), Federica Venier (University of Bergamo), Alessandro Vietti (Free University of Bozen).

Invited Speakers:

Kate Beeching (University of the West of England)
Yael Maschler (University of Haifa)
Mario Squartini (University of Turin)

Call for Papers:

The workshop, organized as part of the Italian National Research Program “Linguistic Representations of Identity. Sociolinguistic Models and
Historical Linguistics” (, welcomes papers providing new insights into classical issues such as the categorization of PMs/DMs/MPs, as well as papers exploring other crucial (but less discussed) issues, such as the sociolinguistics of PMs, DMs and MPs. Particularly encouraged are studies that take into account the languages of the Mediterranean, which are the focus of the Research Program, but contributions on other languages (especially less described ones) are also welcome. The following is a list of relevant questions, clustering around a few thematic foci:

(i) Universality vs. language-specificity: are PMs, DMs and MPs universal or language-specific categories? If they are universal, which are the
criteria for distinguishing them? If they are not, which approach to grammar is the most suitable to model their behavior?

(ii) PMs, DMs and MPs and their functional equivalents: some of these categories are easy to recognize in some languages (e.g. MPs in German). In other languages, it is more difficult to single out a class of MPs, DMs or
PMs. How do these languages perform the functions carried out by MPs, DMs and PMs in other languages?

(iii) The sources of PMs, DMs and MPs: which are their most frequent sources? Are there any regularities across languages in the processes leading from definable sets of sources to specific PMs/DMs/MPs? Are their paths of development parallel, or do they display divergences? Are there any ‘pragmatic cycles’, comparable to Jespersen’s cycles, accounting for their renewal?

(iv) PMs, DMs and MPs in contact: how do these markers behave in contact situations? Are there any borrowability hierarchies among these types of markers? Are more hearer-sided markers (e.g. PMs vs. MPs) more prone to be borrowed in contact situations?

(v) PMs, DMs and MPs as markers of sociolinguistic identity and subjectivity: to what extent do these markers function as signals of sociolinguistic identity? Is there any other type of social significance attached to them within a given community? How do they function to express the speaker’s perspective towards the content s/he’s conveying, the interlocutor, or the communicative situation?

Abstract Submission:

Authors are invited to submit a one-page abstract (with one additional page for examples), keeping in mind that the slot for their communication will last 30 min. including discussion.

Abstracts should be anonymous and should be sent as attachments in PDF format to:

Author(s) name(s) and affiliation should be indicated in the body of the email. The abstracts will be anonymously reviewed by two members of the Scientific Committee. The publication of a selection of the papers as a book or a special issue of an international journal is envisaged.

Important Dates:

30 May 2014: Deadline for abstract submission
30 June 2014: Notification of acceptance; (free) registration starts
9 October 2014: Registration ends
16-17 October 2014: Workshop

Page Updated: 22-Mar-2014