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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.

However, recent legislation calling for legislated "approvals" or “authorization to use force” before the executive can go to war, in no way hinder the executive's ancient prerogative power to decide and declare war. Innovative ways to deny the executive its ability to decide and declare war are proposed in this book.
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.
Multilingualism and Ageing provides an overview of research on a large range of topics relating to language processing and language use from a life-span perspective. It is unique in covering and combining psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic approaches, discussing questions such as: Is it beneficial to speak more than one language when growing old? How are languages processed in multilingual persons, and how does this change over time? What happens to language and communication in multilingual aphasia or dementia? How is multilingual ageing portrayed in the media?
Multilingualism and Ageing is a joint, cross-disciplinary venture of researchers from the Centre for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at The University of Oslo and the editors of this publication.
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.


The present study examines request perspective, the least researched form of mitigation in requesting, while focusing on a type of request characterized by a strong preference for speaker perspective in English and for hearer perspective in most other languages researched to date. It examines requests produced by 900 speakers from nine different (inter)language groups: five groups of native speakers (English, German, Greek, Polish and Russian) and four groups of advanced learners of English as a foreign language (German, Greek, Polish and Russian L1s).

While our learners used more conventionally indirect forms than did the native speakers of the respective L1s, showing awareness of this English pragmatic norm, they retained a preference for the hearer perspective. These results suggest reliance on pragmatic universals as an alternative explanation to pragmatic transfer, also illustrating the need to address less salient pragmatic features in English language teaching.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics
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.


This paper presents an investigation into the impact of teaching pragmatic competence to translation students who translate from English (L2) to Persian (L1). For the experiment, the participants were requested to identify implicit discourse markers in a source text and to transfer them into the target text. This investigation used Think Aloud Protocols (TAP) to monitor students’ inferential translation processes. The results of this study pinpointed the challenging role of pragmatic competence for translation students. Translation performance in an experimental group of participants exposed to a period of pragmatic classroom instruction was compared to that of a control group which did not receive this training. Finally, the data analysis indicated that pragmatic teaching improved the translation students’ pragmatic competence in the experimental group through identifying both implicit and explicit discourse markers in the source text. This was clearly lacking in a number of students’ translations in the control group.

In: International Review of Pragmatics


This paper develops an account of metaphor and its cognitive value. The motivation for this account lies in two considerations: 1) there is a problem, the proposition problem, that plagues many accounts of metaphor and its cognitive value, and 2) a recent criticism of Grice’s program and its semantic-pragmatic distinction by Lepore and Stone (2015) is grounded on the assumption that its account of metaphor is saddled with the proposition problem. Thus there is a need for an account of metaphor that explains its cognitive value without raising the proposition problem, and if successful, we also remove a criticism of Grice’s program. The proposed account of metaphor is one according to which, in uttering a metaphor, the speaker conversationally implicates a metaphorical perspective. This account of metaphor’s cognitive value is grounded in an understanding of metaphorical perspective as itself non-propositional.

In: International Review of Pragmatics
In: Ten Lectures on Event Structure in a Network Theory of Language