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Structure and Socio-Pragmatics of a Nilotic Language of Uganda
Author: Maren Rüsch
A Conversational Analysis of Acholi elucidates various interaction strategies for the Nilotic language Acholi. Based on detailed examples, Maren Rüsch links the structural organization of Acholi conversations to cultural features such as politeness, language socialization and narrations. Despite common claims of universality regarding the structuring of human languages by previous authors, the study shows that some Acholi strategies differ from other languages. The verbal and non-verbal practices displayed give an in-depth insight into speakers’ cognitive participation during interaction.
On the basis of in-situ research in Uganda, including the collection of rich audio- and video-material, this volume provides an innovative approach to language documentation and description and constitutes a thorough conversation analytic study of an African language.
In Enthymemes and Topoi in Dialogue, Ellen Breitholtz presents a novel and precise account of reasoning from an interactional perspective. The account draws on the concepts of enthymemes and topoi, originating in Aristotelian rhetoric and dialectic, and integrates these in a formal dialogue semantic account using TTR, a type theory with records.
Argumentation analysis and formal approaches to reasoning often focus the logical validity of arguments on inferences made in discourse from a god’s-eye perspective. In contrast, Breitholtz’s account emphasises the individual perspectives of interlocutors and the function and acceptability of their reasoning in context. This provides an analysis of interactions where interlocutors have access to different topoi and therefore make different inferences.
Two questions lie at the core of current research into discourse structuring: what is the appropriate level of analysis for discourse segmentation and what are the criteria for the identification of basic units in discourse. Linguistic structure – and more precisely, the extraction and integration of syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic information – has shown to be at the center of discourse comprehension. However, its role in the establishment of basic building blocks for a coherent discourse is still a subject to debate. This collection presents current work on theoretical, diachronic, cross-linguistic, as well as experimental research into the identification and marking of discourse units, and into how discourse coherence can be brought about by the basic building blocks of discourse.
A How-to Manual in Eight Essays
Author: Brien Hallett
Wishing to be helpful, Nurturing the Imperial Presidency by Brien Hallett illuminates the 5,000-year-old invariant practice of executive war-making. Why has the nation's war leader always decided and declared war?

Substituting a speech act approach for the traditional "separation of powers" approach, Hallett argues that he who controls the drafting of the declaration of war also controls the decision to go to war.

Since legislated "authorization to use force" are based upon "a collective judgement and agreement" between executive and legislative branches, such legislative vetoes in no way hinder executive control of either the drafting of the declaration or the decision. Innovative ways to deny the executive its ability to draft the declaration and, hence, to decide are proposed.
Studies in Communication on the Ancient Stage
This volume collects papers on pragmatic perspectives on ancient theatre. Scholars working on literature, linguistics, theatre will find interesting insights on verbal and non-verbal uses of language in ancient Greek and Roman Drama. Comedies and Tragedies spanning from 5th B.C.E. to 1st C.E. are investigated in terms of im/politeness, theory of mind, interpersonal pragmatics, body language, to name some of the approaches which afford new interpretations of difficult textual passages or shed new light into nuances of characterisation, or possibilities of performance. Words, silence, gestures, do things, all the more so in dramatic dialogues on stage.
These lectures deal with the role of cognitive modelling in language-based meaning construction. To make meaning people use a small set of principles which they apply to different types of conceptual characterizations. This yields predictable meaning effects, which, when stably associated with specific grammatical patterns, result in constructions or fixed form-meaning parings. This means that constructional meaning can be described on the basis of the same principles that people use to make inferences. This way of looking at pragmatics and grammar through cognition allows us to relate a broad range of pragmatic and grammatical phenomena, among them argument-structure characterizations, implicational, illocutionary, and discourse structure, and such figures of speech as metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, and irony.
Editors: Chungmin Lee and Jinho Park
Evidentials and Modals offers an in-depth account of the meaning of grammatical elements representing evidentiality in connection to modality, focusing on theoretical/formal perspectives by eminent pioneers in the field and on recently discovered phenomena in Korean evidential markers by native scholars in particular. Evidentiality became a hot topic in semantics and pragmatics, trying to see what kind of evidential justification is provided by evidentials to support or be related to the ‘at-issue’ prejacent propositions. This book aims to provide a deeper understanding of such evidentiality in discourse contexts in a broad range of languages such as American Indian, Korean and Japanese, Turkish and African languages over the world. In addition, an introduction to the concept of evidentiality and theoretical perspectives and recent issues is also provided.
In Ten Lectures on Event Structure in a Network Theory of Language, Nikolas Gisborne explores verb meaning. He discusses theories of events and how a network model of language-in-the-mind should be theorized; what the lexicon is; how to probe word meaning; evidence for structure in word meaning; polysemy; the lexical semantics of causation; a type hierarchy of events; and event types cross-linguistically. He also looks at the relationship between different classes of events or event types and aktionsarten; transitivity alternations and argument linking. Gisborne argues that the social and cognitive embedding of language, requires a view of linguistic structure as a network where even the analysis of verb meaning can require an understanding of the role of speaker and hearer.

Abstract

Hedging strategies, i.e. downtoning expressions or expressions of tentativeness or possibility, are ubiquitous in most, if not all, languages. However, hedging is often realised differently across languages, making such strategies particularly interesting to study from a contrastive perspective. The primary aim of this study is to compare the types of hedging strategies employed in Norwegian and English informal spoken conversations by using recently compiled corpus data. To enable a cross-linguistic comparison, a probe was used, i.e. a search term was devised to find other, surrounding elements in the corpora, and thereby retrieve comparable speech situations in which hedging strategies were likely to occur. The probe was successful in retrieving hedging strategies, and these strategies were then described by using a combination of categories from existing classificatory frameworks. The analysis uncovered several significant differences in the types of hedging strategies used in the two languages.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics