Speaker’s Choice and Language Use

The Research Theme Speaker’s Choice and Language Use investigates how the choices between different possible realizations that are available to the speaker may influence the interpretation of linguistic expressions. The topic will be approached from the perspective of semantics and pragmatics, also taking into consideration syntactic and prosodic constraints. In the process we will strive for a close integration of experimental and theoretical work. Concrete themes to be investigated include the influence of speaker knowledge and contextual relevance on the choice between scalar and linguistic alternatives, the modelling of decision processes, and especially the interfaces to syntax and semantics. The comparison of different theoretical approaches – in particular grammatical, game theoretic and algorithmic models – is a central goal. For conversational implicatures, a model of production and comprehension of scalar alternatives of logical operators and adjective will be developed.

This research topic is supported by the project  Logic Across Languages: expressing and interpreting connectives cross-linguistically (Nicolae) and the project Propositional and Non-at-issue Content in Text Generation: Exploring the QUD–Perspective (Benz).