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Inferences in Interaction and Language Change

International Colloquium
When Nov 10, 2016 12:00 AM to
Nov 13, 2016 12:00 AM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Attendees nach Anmeldung / registration required
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The concept of inference is of central relevance to studies on conversation and diachrony. However, these disciplines tackle the problems inference poses from very different angles. Whereas studies on diachrony focus on the potential of inferences to bring about semantic change, they have only recently begun modeling the role of the relationship between speaker and interlocutor in these processes. In contrast, studies on conversation have long focused on the dialogical emergence of meaning and understanding, but usually give preference to observable actions instead of inferencing in discourse. The colloquium aims to bring together experts from both disciplines and thereby further our knowledge of inference processes and contribute to a contextualized model of the roles of speaker and interlocutor in the synchronic and diachronic emergence of meaning. The contributions will deal with the notion of inference based on empirical evidence from a historical and/or interactional perspective and address the following or related topics:

  • Evidence for the relevance of the notion of inference in processes of language change or meaning construction in interaction
  • Inferences on different levels (action, semantics, syntax, phonology, rhetoric...)
  • Degrees of manifestness/explicitness of inferences
  • Speaker strategies and devices to raise and manage inferences, ranging from lexemes to discourse patterns
  • The importance of context for models of language use and change
  • Theoretical perspectives on modeling inferences including both speakers and hearers
  • The role of inferences in theoretical models of grammar such as construction grammar


Oliver Ehmer:

Malte Rosemeyer: