LINGUIST List 27.1096

Tue Mar 01 2016

Confs: Cog Sci, Morphology, Semantics, Syntax/Brazil

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 29-Feb-2016
From: Tiago Torrent <>
Subject: Constructions, Usage and Intersubjectivity
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Constructions, Usage and Intersubjectivity

Date: 05-Oct-2016 - 07-Oct-2016
Location: Juiz de Fora - Minas Gerais, Brazil
Contact: Lílian Ferrari
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Morphology; Semantics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

This theme session reflects current trends in cognitive linguistics and usage-based approaches to language, centering on the relations between grammatical constructions, usage and intersubjectivity. Recent studies have shown the existence of a wide range of constructions marking intersubjectivity, from lower-level constructions, such as negation markers and personal pronouns, to syntactic-level constructions, such as conditionals and complementation constructions (Verhagen 2005; Zlatev et. al. 2015). Beyond textual data, gesture and various multimodal combinations (e.g. comics) have also been studied as constructions which play intersubjective functions in usage events (Sweetser 2007, Steen and Turner, 2013).

According to usage-based models, structure emerges when chunks of speech are identified by repeated occurrence and get entrenched in the speaker’s mind as units of language (Langacker, 1988, 1999; Kemmer & Barlow 1999; Tomasello 1999, 2003; Bybee 2006, 2010). Drawing on this body of research, this theme section aims at taking a step further and investigating how frequency of use and communicative needs are intertwined in shaping constructions. In this vein, it is claimed that even if frequency can be seen as a shaping factor, it may well not be a determining cause, but the effect of interactional needs, such as intersubjective alignment (Verhagen, 2005). Given that intersubjectivity, defined as mutual management of cognitive states, has been shown to be a basic component of human cognition (Tomasello, 1999), it should be expected that it is also a basic component of grammar. Following this line of reasoning, this theme session will focus on different kinds of constructions, exploring the relations between frequency of use, degree of entrenchment and intersubjectivity.

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