LINGUIST List 31.2681

Fri Aug 28 2020

Calls: Disc Analysis/Greece

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 28-Aug-2020
From: Matthias Klumm <>
Subject: Continuative and contrastive discourse relations across discourse domains: Cognitive and cross-linguistic approaches
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Full Title: Continuative and contrastive discourse relations across discourse domains: Cognitive and cross-linguistic approaches

Date: 31-Aug-2021 - 03-Sep-2021
Location: Athens, Greece
Contact Person: Matthias Klumm
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Call Deadline: 01-Nov-2020

Meeting Description:

The goal of this workshop is to investigate the linguistic realization of continuative and contrastive discourse relations across discourse domains, considering in particular cognitive and cross-linguistic perspectives.

Discourse relations (also known as coherence relations or rhetorical relations) have been examined with regard to their signalling across various theoretical frameworks, such as RST (Mann & Thompson 1988) or SDRT (Asher & Lascarides 2003). Discourse relations may be signalled explicitly in order to ensure speaker-intended interpretation, or they may be left implicit (i.e. non-signalled) and therefore would need to be inferred by the reader/hearer from the discourse context (see Taboada 2009). The focus of previous research has been on the explicit signalling of discourse relations by means of discourse connectives and their discourse-relation-specific functions across numerous languages (see, e.g., Crible 2018; Das & Taboada 2018; Gast 2019; Sanders & Noordman 2000). As regards the construal and negotiation of discourse coherence, discourse connectives can also be conceptualized as carriers of “discursive glue” (Fetzer 2018: 18-20), guiding language users in their inferencing processes to retrieve the relevant speaker-intended implicatures to connect the constitutive parts of discourse into a meaningful whole.

Building on the results obtained for the semantics and pragmatics of discourse connectives, this workshop focuses on two of the most cognitively salient kinds of discourse relations, i.e. continuative and contrastive discourse relations, which differ in their functions with regard to how they convey how the flow of discourse is to proceed locally (see also Fetzer 2018; Murray 1997). Continuative discourse relations (e.g. Continuation, Elaboration and Explanation) do not indicate a local halt in the flow of discourse or a local shift in perspective, but rather indicate that the ongoing discourse is proceeding as ‘planned’ in spite of additional elaborations or explanations on the current discourse topic. Upcoming discourse units are expected to be causally congruent with preceding discourse units, and they are expected to proceed in a temporally and logically ordered manner. Contrastive discourse relations indicate a local change as regards discourse topic continuity, and thus a local halt in the flow of discourse which requires a local sequential re-organization. Fully contrastive discourse relations require full local re-organization with respect to the discourse topic or some of its constitutive parts, while for contrastive elaborations – or concessive relations – only the non-congruent part(s) requires re-organization.

From a cognitive perspective, continuative and contrastive discourse relations have been shown to vary with regard to their production and interpretation. Given that language users by default expect upcoming discourse units to be temporally, logically and causally continuous with respect to the preceding discourse (see Murray 1997; Sanders 2005), continuative discourse relations do not seem to require additional signalling and therefore would be expected to be easier to process than contrastive discourse relations. This is also reflected in the linguistic realization of these two types of discourse relations in that contrastive discourse relations are signalled more frequently by means of discourse connectives (e.g. but or however in English; allerdings or jedoch in German etc.) than continuative discourse relations, which in turn are more often conveyed implicitly (see, e.g., Asr & Demberg 2012; Zufferey & Gygax 2016).

Call for Papers:

We invite submissions that may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- Representation of continuative and/or contrastive discourse relations
- Differences between continuative and contrastive discourse relations with regard to their signalling / explicit / overt realization
- Signalled / explicit / overt in the left and/or right peripheries
- Cross-linguistic / discourse-domain-specific differences with regard to the signalling of continuative and/or contrastive discourse relations
- Differences between spoken and written discourse with regard to the signalling of continuative and/or contrastive discourse relations
- Cognitive processes underlying the production of continuative and/or contrastive discourse relations as well as their interpretation in context

We invite experimental as well as corpus-based approaches across various theoretical frameworks.

Abstracts (max. 300 words, excluding references) should be sent to the workshop convenors by 1 November 2020:
Feedback on abstracts will be provided by 10 November 2020, and the workshop proposal will be submitted to the organizers of SLE 2021 by 20 November 2020.

We will be notified by 15 December 2020 if our workshop proposal for SLE 2021 has been accepted. If approved, authors must submit a revised abstract of 500 words according to the SLE guidelines by 15 January 2021.

Asher, Nicholas & Alex Lascarides. 2003. Logics of conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Asr, Fatemeh Torabi & Vera Demberg. 2012. Implicitness of discourse relations. Proceedings of COLING 2012. 2669-2684.
Crible, Ludivine. 2018. Discourse markers and (dis)fluency: Forms and functions across languages and registers. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Das, Debopam & Maite Taboada. 2018. Signalling of coherence relations, beyond discourse markers. Discourse Processes 55(8). 743-770.
Fetzer, Anita. 2018. The encoding and signalling of discourse relations in argumentative discourse: Evidence across production formats. In María de los Ángeles Gómez González & J. Lachlan Mackenzie (eds.), The construction of discourse as verbal interaction, 13-44. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Gast, Volker. 2019. A corpus-based comparative study of concessive connectives in English, German and Spanish: The distribution of although, obwohl and aunque in the Europarl corpus. In Óscar Loureda, Inés Recio Fernández, Laura Nadal & Adriana Cruz (eds.), Empirical studies of the construction of discourse, 151-191. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Mann, William & Sandra Thompson. 1988. Rhetorical Structure Theory: Toward a functional theory of text organization. Text 8(3). 243-281.
Murray, John D. 1997. Connectives and narrative text: The role of continuity. Memory and Cognition 25(2). 227-236.
Sanders, Ted J. M. 2005. Coherence, causality and cognitive complexity in discourse. Proceedings/Actes SEM-05: First International Symposium on the Exploration and Modelling of Meaning. 105-114.
Sanders, Ted J. M. & Leo G. M. Noordman. 2000. The role of coherence relations and their linguistic markers in text processing. Discourse Processes 29(1). 37-60.
Taboada, Maite. 2009. Implicit and explicit coherence relations. In Jan Renkema (ed.), Discourse, of course: An overview of research in discourse studies, 127-140. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Zufferey, Sandrine & Pascal Gygax. 2016. The role of perspective shifts for processing and translating discourse relations. Discourse Processes 53(7). 532-555.

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