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A l’interface entre Syntaxe et Pragmatique


22-24 septembre


M. David Blunier, UNIGE

Prof. Genoveva Puskas, UNIGE


Prof. Dr. Andreas Trotzke, Universität Konstanz.

Prof. Dr. Eva Wittenberg, University of California San Diego.


In this course, we will look at the interface between syntax and pragmatics and thus explore the various interactions between grammatical form and language in context. We will discuss and evaluate recent theoretical models of those interactions by contrasting views that directly encode pragmatic meaning in syntactic representations with approaches where syntax and pragmatics interact with each other only indirectly, mediated via prosody or by extragrammatical components of language use such as pragmatic inferences. We will combine our theoretical discussion with an introduction to relevant experimental research methods and hands-on activities, and we will offer students the opportunity to present some of their own research. Topics are, among others, the interaction between syntax and the expression of information structure across languages, the interface with illocutionary force, and to what extent different choices in the domain of syntax (e.g., give a hug instead of to hug) might have an impact on discourse prominence of referents in an utterance.


The course will consist of 5 units from September 22 to September 24. The first two days will have 2 units each, one in the morning (Trotzke) and one in the afternoon (Wittenberg). On the last day of the course, we will offer students the opportunity to present and discuss some of their own research, from fresh ideas to concluded projects (students will be asked to prepare short presentations following a QALMRI format).


Day 1. Introduction to the syntax-pragmatics interface and to experimental methodology

MORNING: The syntax-pragmatics interface: Theoretical views and the scale of variation

AFTERNOON: Syntactic incorporation and discourse prominence: From theory to experiment and back


Trotzke, Andreas. 2015. Rethinking Syntactocentrism: Architectural Issues and Case Studies at the Syntax-Pragmatics Interface. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, Chapter 3.

Trotzke, Andreas, Ermenegildo Bidese & Manuela Moroni. 2020. German discourse particles in the second language classroom: Teasing apart learning problems at the syntaxpragmatics interface. Pedagogical Linguistics 1, 184-210.

Wittenberg, Eva. 2018. He gave my nose a kick or he kicked my nose? Argument structure alternations and event construal. Psychology of Learning and Motivation 68 (Current Topics in Language), Chapter 11, 337-360.


Day 2. Selected topics at the syntax-pragmatics interface

MORNING: Clause types and their discourse effects

AFTERNOON: Designing experiments: Methods, questions, pitfalls, and our own toy study


Arunachalam, Suda. 2013. Experimental methods for linguists. Language and Linguistics Compass 7, 221-232.

Trotzke, Andreas. 2020. How cool is that! A new 'construction' and its theoretical challenges. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 23, 327-365.

Trotzke, Andreas & Xavier Villalba. 2020. Exclamatives as responses at the syntax-pragmatics interface. Journal of Pragmatics 168, 139-171.

Wittenberg, Eva, Manizeh Khan & Jesse Snedeker. 2017. Investigating thematic roles through implicit learning: Evidence from light verb constructions. Frontiers in Psychology 8:1089.


Day 3. Discussion of ongoing PhD work (only MORNING)


Brosowsky, Nicholaus. 2017. QALMRI instruction handout for students.





Délai d'inscription 15.09.2021
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