LINGUIST List 31.1476

Wed Apr 29 2020

Calls: General Linguistics/France

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 27-Apr-2020
From: Laurence VINCENT-DURROUX <>
Subject: Reference : (co-)construction and use
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Full Title: Reference : (co-)construction and use
Short Title: LED 2021

Date: 25-Mar-2021 - 26-Mar-2021
Location: Grenoble (Université Grenoble Alpes), France
Contact Person: Laurence VINCENT-DURROUX
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Call Deadline: 27-Nov-2020

Meeting Description:

Reference is considered here in the nominal domain – pronouns included – and is understood as the designation of the mental representation of an entity, regardless of whether the latter exists in the extralinguistic world.

A great amount of research on reference has been devoted to the constraints on the interpretation of referential expressions in anaphoric contexts (e.g. Government and Binding Theory for the syntactic constraints on sentence-internal anaphora; issues of referential opacity for coreferential NPs in subject and object positions; or discourse anaphora); later on, more general studies on reference have considered pragmatics (e.g. Grice’s Maxims in Gundel et al. 1993) and the influence of the cognitive status of the referent (e.g. Accessibility theory, Ariel 1990; Givenness Hierarchy, Gundel et al. 1993; Centering frameworks, Grosz et al. 1995, Walker et al. 1998, Strube & Hahn 1999). But these studies, as well as more recent research (e.g. Abbott 2010, Gundel & Abbott 2019), have also brought to light the limitations of such theoretical models. They are important in that they establish definite trends, but all they can make out are trends, as the referent’s cognitive status obviously interacts with other factors – besides, many of these studies are based on constructed examples.

It is this complexity that the present conference will seek to explore, by bringing together specialists of various fields and languages. It will place the speaker/user at the core of the referential process: as stressed by Strawson (1950) among others, it is not a definite description that refers by itself, but a speaker who uses a definite description to refer to something in a given speech situation.

Call for Papers:

Contributions to the following issues, based on any of the world languages, are particularly welcome (see conference site for details on the following themes):
- In addition to the cognitive status of the referent, what factors are at play in the construction and management of reference?
- A closer look at the reference / quantification interface will provide a better understanding of plural reference and more generally, of the process of referential construction.
- What are the possible effects of variation from the expected ''norm''? Is it possible to detect recurrences, or even conventional expectations, in such variations and their effects?
- Further research into the oral and non-verbal dimensions of reference is also crucially needed.
- The study of reference (and its acquisition where appropriate) in speakers with non-typical development will also provide useful insights into the parameters at play.
- The issue of the construction of reference also raises that of its co-construction, in both spoken and written interaction.
- the exploitation of reference for argumentative purposes is still underresearched today. To what extent may a “marked” referential expression (or referential chain) be regarded as part of the argumentative strategy?

Keynote speakers:
Catherine Emmott, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Lutz Gunkel, Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, Germany
Manfred Krifka, Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin, Germany

Proposals of around 700 words (plus up to 5 references), together with a short bio, should be sent to The proposals should be sent both in .doc(x) and .pdf formats. The talks may be given in English or in French.

Following the conference, submitted papers will be considered for a publication with an international impact, subject to double blind peer review.

Page Updated: 29-Apr-2020