Valandis Bardzokas (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Title: Syntactic constraints on relevance

Abstract

The aim of the presentation is to discuss Modern Greek (MG) causal subordination, as in He came backepiδi (because) he loved her, with a focus on the type of meaning attached to pre-posed subordinate clauses in reversed configurations, as in epiδi (because) he loved her, he came back. In this connection, its ultimate concern lies with the question of how a MG because p, q construction differs in meaning from its canonical counterpart (i.e., q because p), or what kind of contribution pre-position makes to the overall meaning of a causal conjunction. To address this matter, I take the relevance-theoretic approach. In this framework of meaning analysis, it turns out that the type of meaning associated with causal pre-position can be treated rigorously and comprehensively in typical procedural terms. In this spirit, I would like to argue that the pre-positioning of MG causal connectives serves as a syntactic constraint on contextual information (captured in the subordinate clause), facilitating the derivation of contextual effects. This constraint is employed to communicate an unobjectionable pre-justification of the content of the main clause whose realization is pending. In this sense, this procedure can be said to contribute additional import to the overall interpretation of a causal conjunction. 

Following on Valandis’s talk, we had a very engaging discussion on procedural meaning, syntactic structures and different effects. Greek connectives are so much fun to look at!

Win a Copy of Relevance, Pragmatics and Interpretation

To celebrate the launch of the Relevance Researchers’ Network, we are giving away a copy of ‘Relevance, Pragmatics and Interpretation’ (2019) edited by Scott, Clark and Carston. To be in with a chance of winning, follow us on Twitter @RelevanceN and retweet our post about the competition.

Closes 5pm (GMT) 15th March 2021. No cash alternative offered. Winner will be selected at random. Book contributors are not eligible to win (you already have a copy!), but please still retweet us!

Gemma Williams (Brighton). Title: ‘Relevance, interest affect and flow: Mapping out Concepts’

24th February 2021

Click this image for the recording of the talk

[Abstract]


Relevance theorists are well-versed in the role of mutual cognitive environments in ostensive-inferential communication. In my recently completed doctoral research, I  investigated the role that faulty assumptions about what is mutually manifest might play in the breakdowns in mutual understanding between autistic and non-autistic people, otherwise known as the ‘double empathy problem’ (Milton, 2012). This talk introduces the theoretical background of my research and describes how the analysis of recorded, naturalistic conversations involving autistic and non-autistic interlocutors highlighted the potential importance of concepts such as flowrapport and affect, and interest to a relevance theoretic account of utterance interpretation and social communication. Finally, this talk explores what these concepts might have in common and asks how, technically, they might relate to the construct of ‘relevance’? 

Following on Gemma’s super interesting talk, we had a very engaging discussion on how concepts such as interest, relevance, and affect would interlink with each other.