Linguistics and Psycholinguistic Approaches to Text Structuring

Country: France

City: Paris

Abstr. due: 15.09.2017

Dates: 08.01.18 — 20.01.18

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: Ecole Normale Supérieure


The aim of the conference, in line with previous editions of the series, is to provide an interdisciplinary forum to present and discuss recent work on discourse structure.

From a linguistic viewpoint, the focus is often on discourse markers, such as adverbials, connectives, and discourse particles. How can we categorize them? What kind of relations do they express? Can they combine several functions at the sentence level and/or at the discourse level and, if so, which ones?

From a psycholinguistic viewpoint, important questions include what impact discourse structure markers have on comprehension. For instance, are we capable of identifying topic continuity and predicting topic changes on the basis of discourse cues? What does a topic (or theme) of discourse correspond to cognitively? From an acquisitional viewpoint, when and how are discourse markers acquired? From what age are children able to master their use in oral and written discourse?

This edition will focus on the issue of discourse management, and more specifically on topic orientation markers. As noted for example by Schourup (1999), one major issue is the question of the universality of DMs (“To what extent do all languages share a basic set of DMs with the same core pragmatic meaning?”, cf. Fraser, 1990: 395), and a possible degree of universality depending on the type of DM involved: “Fraser suggests it is likely that all languages will have DMs like and, so, and now, but he questions whether this is the case for markers like notwithstanding, well, and anyway.” (Schourup 1999: 261).

In this new edition of the LPTS conference, we thus propose a reflection on the general theme of markers and discourse coherence, and particularly on one type of DM, viz. topic shifters. Papers may for instance address the question of the existence and translatability of digressive markers, a subtype or possibly a use-type of topic shifters (Lenk 1998, Pons Bordería & Estellés Arguedas 2009), or topic orientation markers (a subtype of discourse management markers, cf. Fraser 2009).

We welcome papers using cognitive, functional and psycholinguistic approaches, based on corpora in various languages at different stages of their evolution, as well as papers that report on approaches based on behavioral data. The objective is to encourage discussion and collaboration between the approaches.


    Topic shifts, Topic orientation, Digression
    Grammaticalization and evolution of discourse markers
    Typological approaches to discourse markers
    Effects of discourse structure on comprehension
    Acquisition and mastery of discourse production
    Segmentation and linearization
    Saliency and Information Structure
    Role of text structuring devices in acquiring knowledge
    Disfluency and ‘normal’ vs ‘pathological’ discourse


Conference Web-Site: