Lectures by Prof. Arie Verhagen(University of Antwerp/Leiden University)


Talk 1)

Title: Human Communication and Social Cognition 

Hostess: Esther Pascual

Day: Monday 29th of October 2018   

Time: 9:00-11:00am      

Room: East building 5-201, Zijingang Campus

A language is a set of conventional coordination devices: cultural tools available for members of a community to coordinate their actions in joint projects with other members (possibly vaguely defined ones, like bonding, sharing the latest rumors, etc.). Linguistic tools work especially by allowing participants in a joint project to efficiently coordinate their mental states: understanding each other’s perspective on some situation of shared relevance in such a way that they can coordinate their actions and thus achieve their joint goals (cf. Verhagen 2005, 2015).

Elementary communication is naturally thought of as taking place in purely dyadic interactions with respect to a joint goal and an object of joint attention. However, with language being basically a public and collective tool for communication (‘wide broadcasting’), the default condition for natural conversations is to also involve more participants than the (present) speaker and addressee −side-participants, bystanders, and even eavesdroppers (Clark, 1996)− and the boundaries between these roles and their distribution over individuals are flexible. Moreover, speakers in all cultures regularly simulate interactions (create dialogues, embedded in their own turns) as a tool for achieving communicative goals in their interactions with their addressees (cf. Pascual 2014). This is especially crucial in story-telling and writing, i.e. commonly public, community-wide communicative activities. This importance and pervasiveness of the roles of other minds in much of human communication calls for incorporation in an updated, extended model of human communication and social cognition, that connects its most elementary lexical and grammatical manifestations to research on global viewpoint management in narratives (cf. Pascual 2014; Dancygier, Lu & Verhagen 2016). I will outline such a model, and show how it supports an improved understanding of certain linguistic and narrative phenomena.


Talk 2)

Title:Reported Discourse, Evidentiality, and Construction Grammar: Variation in Direct Discourse Constructions 

Hostess: Esther Pascual

Day: Tuesday 30th of October 2018  


Room: East building 5-201, Zijingang Campus

In modern narratology and discourse studies, the domain of Speech and Thought Representation (STR) is usually cut up in a number of categories, the major ones being “direct” and “indirect” discourse. These are (at least partly) defined in terms of grammatical distinctions. Following the line of thinking developed in Croft (2001), this raises the issue of the theoretical status of the categories, as generally and cross-linguistically valid primitives, or as derived and cross-linguistically distinct notions (cf. Lu & Verhagen 2016).

Examples of generally used categories (Dutch with English translations) are:

-Direct Discourse (DD): [Donald dacht] “Volgend jaar kan ik president zijn” (‘Donald thought: “Next year I may be president”’);

-Indirect Discourse (ID): [Donald dacht] dat hij het volgende jaar president kon zijn (‘Donald thought that he might be president the next year’);

-Free Indirect Discourse (FID): [Donald werd steeds zenuwachtiger –] Volgend jaar kon hij president zijn, ‘Donald got more and more nervous – Next year he might be president’).

These types of STR are usually distinguished in terms of grammatical and deictic features of the reported clauses, and these do not completely overlap for Dutch and English. Moreover, an analysis of usage shows that there are more features than these that also make a difference for the distribution of responsibility for different parts of the relevant discourse fragments. I will focus especially on differences between preposed and postposed reporting clauses in Dutch. Usually, sentences of the type He said: Today I am announcing my resignation and of the type Today I am announcing my resignation, he said are both categorized as DD, while Today he was announcing his resignation, he said is categorized as FID. However, distributional and conceptual considerations support the view that the latter two are instances of a single construction [X[V2-clause]-Reporting clause] in Dutch – the inquit-construction–, which allows (variation in the) mixing of viewpoints in X and has certain evidential characteristics (cf. Aikhenvald 2004), while the construction [Reporting clause-X[V2-clause]] – the citation-construction– signals a complete shift to the perspective of a character.

While English also has preposed and postposed reporting clauses, the situation is different as the postposed reporting clause comes in two variants: S-V and V-S (‘inversion’), the slots of which do not have exactly the same distributional and functional profile. Thus, even closely related languages do not ‘cut up’ the conceptual space of reportativity in exactly the same way, which is furthermore reinforced by a consideration of evidential markers in German (Vanderbiessen 2016).

                          School of International Studies,Zhejiang University

                                               October 9, 2018

Contact Us

Address:No. 866, Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, P.R. China

Postal Code:310058

Telephone:+86-571-8820-6044 +8