LINGUIST List 32.3354

Mon Oct 25 2021

Calls: Discourse Analysis, General Linguistics/Romania

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 25-Oct-2021
From: Doriana Cimmino <>
Subject: Disentangling Topicality Effects
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Full Title: Disentangling Topicality Effects

Date: 24-Aug-2022 - 27-Aug-2022
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact Person: Doriana Cimmino
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; General Linguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Nov-2021

Meeting Description:

Workshop at Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE)

The concept of the proposition-level TOPIC is central to multiple areas of linguistic theory and analysis, but remains largely controversial regarding its definition and the range of the phenomena to which it applies. The boundaries of this category, regardless the definition adopted, are too broad for the study of linguistic phenomena. For example, in grammar, topicality is commonly associated with a large set of prototypical cross-linguistically recurrent constructions: constituent order with a clause-initial position, Left Dislocation and Hanging Topic structures, as for-type markers, wh-clefts and topical particles. However, in the empirical description of data, the usage of the concept does not provide sufficient resolution for language-specific research and for comparative analysis.

This workshop aims at disentangling topicality effects, focusing on the description of phenomena of natural discourse and spontaneous interaction. Our purpose is to examine the range of phenomena commonly dubbed “topical”, discussing whether and to what extent the traditional concept of TOPIC is theoretically and empirically relevant for their study.
In this respect, a promising path of research has been traced from interactional, corpus-based approaches, questioning topicality-oriented analyses of common “topical” structures. For example, Left Dislocation (LD) constructions have been found to be triggered by a variety of specific interaction-managing and production related factors, such as incremental utterance production, turn-taking, local attention alignment, resonance of available material, and textual prominence (Pekarek-Doehler et al. 2015; Ozerov forthcoming; Cimmino forthcoming). These studies may suggest that an apparent aboutness-effect is not a primitive factor, but a retrospective, potentially epiphenomenal overgeneralization of the specific and diverse local discourse moves performed by the speakers. In this case, the identified specific factors can be modelled as guiding the interlocutors directly in the dynamic process of utterance production and interpretation (Ozerov 2021).

Call for Papers:

Doriana Cimmino & Pavel Ozerov
(University of Salerno, University of Münster)

We invite submissions for papers aiming at describing effects associated with topicality, teasing them apart from syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic components in the description of discourse level phenomena. Every discourse phenomenon related to the concept of TOPIC can be the object of study and it can be approached from every theoretical and methodological angle. Submissions to the workshop may include, but need not be limited to the following theoretical and empirical issues. Papers taking a theoretical approach must also hint to empirical case-studies, and, in turn, empirical case-studies must also clearly state their theoretical contribution. Both intra-linguistic and cross-linguistic studies are welcome.

- Theoretical discussion of discourse phenomena associated with topicality and possible alternative conceptual categories for their description;
- Theoretical discussion on the place/benefit/evidence for a unified view of the diverse topicality-like phenomena;
- Possible fruitful operationalization of the concept of TOPIC for language-specific or comparative studies;
- Language-specific and comparative studies of linguistic phenomena associated with topicality-like effects, combined with the examination of the factors triggering these effects;
- Crosslinguistic variation in the identification/description of topicality-like effects;
- Cross-linguistic variation in the assignment of topical-like effects in parallel contexts.

Please send your non-anonymous 300 words abstracts to Doriana Cimmino ( and Pavel Ozerov ( by 15 November 2021.

Page Updated: 25-Oct-2021