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Interaction and usage-based grammar theories. What about prosody and visual signals?

Wann 03.12.2009 um 09:00 bis
05.12.2009 um 18:00
Wo Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
Teilnehmer nach Anmeldung
Termin übernehmen vCal

Organization: Dr. Pia Bergmann, Jana Brenning, Martin Pfeiffer, Elisabeth
Reber, Janaisa Viscardi

Conference outline

It has been widely shown that participants in talk-in-interaction use grammatical structures specifically designed for the conditions and requirements of oral communication (e.g. Deppermann et al. 2006, Ford et al. 2002, Hakulinen & Selting 2005, Günthner & Imo 2006). Based on these insights, calls have recently been made for a “Grammar of Spoken Language” (e.g. Auer 2005). Linking up to this discussion, in this conference we wish to examine in how far the results of interactional linguistic research may be generalised and theorised in line with usage-based theories of grammar, such as e.g. Construction Grammar (Croft 2001), Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 2008) or Emergent Grammar (Hopper 1987, Bybee 2006). Taking language-specific and cross-linguistic perspectives, we intend to address the following issues:

1a. What kind of grammar models lend themselves for a “Grammar of Spoken Language”? What are the limits of such models? In what ways do they need to be expanded?

1b. What kind of linguistic knowledge can we infer from conversational data and has not been reflected in usage based models of grammar so far? Past research has been focussing on the analysis and modelling of lexico-syntactic structures. Going beyond that, the conference aims at discussing the roles of prosody, gesture and other visual signals, that is, gaze, facial expression, posture, and proximity within the framework of a usage based, conversational grammar. Issues to be taken up include:

2a. What kind of recent findings exist regarding formal and functional aspects of prosody and visual signals in interaction?

2b. In what ways are prosody and visual signals relevant for a conversational grammar?

2c. In what ways do we have to modify our understanding of language and usage based sign models, when incorporating prosody and visual signals in grammatical descriptions?

Furthermore, the conference intends to offer suggestions in what ways the interactional-linguistic approach could be complemented through experimental methods for the investigation of embodied interaction, especially when examining prosody and visual signals and what potentials and limits exist.

3a. Are there experimental ways for a Linguistics of talk-in-interaction? What kind of issues may/should be operationalised for experimental analysis?

3b. What kind of concrete methods lend themselves to such objectives?


  • Auer, Peter (2005): Syntax als Prozess. In: InLiSt - Interaction and Linguistic Structures 41, [, last accessed 06/02/2009]
  • Bybee, Joan (2006). From usage to grammar: The mind's response to repetition. In: Language 82, 4, 711-733.
  • Croft, William (2001): Radical Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford UP. Deppermann, Arnulf, Reinhard Fiehler & Thomas Spranz-Fogasy (Hg.) (2006): Grammatik und Interaktion. Untersuchungen zum Zusammenhang zwischen grammatischen Strukturen und Interaktionsprozessen. Radolfzell: Verlag für Gesprächsforschung. [, last accessed 06/02/2009]
  • Ford, Cecilia, Barabara Fox, & Sandra Thompson (Hg.) (2002): The Language of Turn and Sequence. Oxford: OUP. Günthner, Susanne & Wolfgang Imo (Hg.) (2006): Konstruktionen in der Interaktion. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.
  • Hakulinen, Auli & Margret Selting (Hg.) (2005): Syntax and Lexis in Conversation: Studies on the Use of Linguistic Resources in Talk-in-interaction. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Hopper, Paul (1987): Emergent Grammar. In: Berkeley Linguistics Society 13, 139-157.
  • Langacker, Ronald (2008): Cognitive grammar: a basic introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press