Commitments in Grammar and Discourse (Commit22)

Organizer(s) Anton Benz, Manfred Krifka & Marvin Schmitt
Workshop 44. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS)
Start of event 23.02.2022, 00.00 o'clock
End of event 25.02.2022, 00.00 o'clock
Venue Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Zur DGfS 2022 Homepage

Recent years witnessed a shift from the Gricean view that communication is based on disclosing beliefs and intentions to a view that takes the announcement of social commitments as essential (Geurts 2019, Shapiro 2020). Commitments are a fruitful concept that bridges semantic, pragmatic, and social meaning. Undergoing commitments can be conceived as the semantic denotations of illocutionary acts that can be modified by linguistic means, such as epistemic and evidential operators. People undergo commitments for pragmatic purposes, such as bringing it about that the addressee accepts a proposition or performs a task, and accepting or agreeing to a proposition creates social commitments for the addressee. And commitments follow social norms and result in obligations, be it on the microlevel of communication or in society at large. In this way, the workshop targets the central aspect of the theme of the 44th Annual Meeting of the DGfS, Sprache verpflichtet (My word is my bond!), as it brings to the fore the social foundation on which linguistic communication is based. 

We invite contributions that focuses on the theoretical notion of commitments and are open to empirical applications and challenges, as well as contributions that focus on particular phenomena and are open for theoretical modeling in terms of commitments. The workshop should target phenomena such assertions and other speech acts, like questions, imperatives, commands, promises and exclamatives. This includes expressions that influence the commitment levels directly (such as reallyindeed) or indirectly, like hedges, prosody, and epistemic and evidential operators (such as apparently, certainly (cf. Faller 2019. Murray & Starr 2020).  

The workshop welcomes contributions to any human language, it is open in terms of empirical procedures (corpora or experiments) and of modelling approaches (e.g., in terms of common ground development, game theory). We will reach out to philosophy and psychology, where issues like the norms of assertion and signatures of trustworthiness and lying have been discussed recently (cf. Kneer 2018, Terkourafi 2019, Marsili 2020). We are happy that Sarah Murray (Cornell University) and Neri Marsili (U Bologna) agreed to act as invited speakers.

Program [pdf]

Invited speakers

  • Sarah Murray (Cornell University)
  • Neri Marsili (U Bologna)


  • Faller, Martina. 2019. The discourse commitments of illocutionary reportatives. Semantics and Pragmatics 12: 1-46.
  • Geurts, Bart. 2019. Communication as commitment sharing: speech acts, implicatures, common ground. Theoretical Linguistics 45: 1-30. 
  • Kneer, Markus. 2018. The norm of assertion: Empirical data. Cognition 177: 165-171
  • Marsili, Neri. 2020. Lying, speech acts, and commitment. Synthese. 
  • Murray, Sarah E. & William B. Starr. 2020. The structure of communicative acts. Linguistics and Philosophy 1-50.
  • Shapiro, Lionel. 2020. Commitment accounts of assertion. In: Goldberg, Sanford (ed), Oxford Handbook of Assertion
  • Terkourafi, Marina. 2019. Lying and politeness. In Jörg Meibauer, The Oxford handbook of lying. 382-398.