Discourse Particles and Cognition

The research group “Discourse particles and cognition” (DPKog) at Heidelberg University’s Centre for Iberoamerica focuses on the experimental study of discourse particles – linguistic expressions such as German daher, trotzdem, English even or Spanish incluso, sin embargo – to determine how they affect information processing. Discourse particles are linguistic devices that constrain inferential processes in language comprehension and guide the hearer to what the speaker intends to communicate (Blakemore 1987, 2002, amongst others). They do so because of their fundamentally procedural meaning and depending on their specific semantic, morphosyntactic and pragmatic properties (Portolés 2001). The research of the group DPKog currently concentrates on two types of discourse particles: focus operators, on the one hand, which act within an utterance guiding the hearer’s attention to the elements that a speaker seeks to highlight; and connectives, on the other hand, which link two discourse segments semantically and pragmatically, and lead to inferences derived from the connected segments as a whole.

Projects associated with this group

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