Speech Acts and Perspective

The Research Theme Speech Acts and Perspective is currently supported by the five-year ERC Advanced Grant Speech Acts in Grammar and Discourse (SPAGAD) (Krifka). The project spans activities across all four research areas. One main goal is the development of a formal dynamic model for speech acts, as the minimal meaningful units of human communication. In particular, the model should be able to specify how particles, sentence adverbials and dependent clauses are able to modify speech acts like assertions, questions, commands and exclamatives. It also investigates the role of speech acts in conversations and the social standards in their use, and how speech acts and their standards are acquired. Speech acts connect with the Research Theme on perspective, already well established at ZAS, as expressions relating to speech acts often signal a shift of perspective from the speaker to other persons, like the addressee, a bystander or a third person referred to. Phenomena related to speech acts and perspective will be investigated broadly and with respect to different languages and speaker communities within languages; it is planned to investigate sentence mood, verb placement, pronoun choice, discourse particles, question choice and prosody.

Furthermore, this research theme is supported by the project Propositional and non-at-issue content in text generation: Exploring the QUD perspective perspective (Benz) and the Marie-Curie-project How Language is used to oppress oppress (Popa-Wyatt).