LSA 114: Intersubjectivity in grammar

Arie Verhagen | session 1 | TuTh 10:30 – 12:15, 101 Moffitt Hall

This course focuses on the function of a number of syntactic constructions in the management of intersubjectivity: the way different perspectives — primarily the speaker/writer's and the addressee's — are coordinated in discourse. The leading theoretical idea is that linguistic meaning, including grammatical meaning, quite normally has a rhetorical ('directive') character (with or without a descriptive component related to it), and that this is the species specific variant of basic and very general biological characteristics of communication. Such an evolutionary inspired approach helps to reframe certain traditional analytical problems and provide new solutions in such domains as grammatical negation, discourse connectives, complementation, and modality. Next to elaborating these relationships, we will also consider philosophical and evolutionary consequences of the approach, by looking at some responses to Verhagen (2005/2007), Constructions of Intersubjectivity (OUP).

Required reading: Selected materials available online.

Recommended reading: Arie Verhagen, Constructions of Intersubjectivity. Discourse, Syntax, and Cognition.

Areas of linguistics: Language and thought; Syntax, semantics, and morphology

Banner design by Laurie Caird