Pragmatic Particles in (Greek) Talk-in-interaction

Country: Greece

City: Thessaloniki

Abstr. due: 15.01.2019

Dates: 24.06.19 — 25.06.19

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: The Institute of Modern Greek Studies


The Institute of Modern Greek Studies [Manolis Triandaphyllidis Foundation] is pleased to announce its 3rd Symposium on the Greek language in spoken communication, to be held in Thessaloniki on 24-25 June 2019. The Symposium is organized in the framework of the Institute’s activities on spoken Greek and the research project Greek Talk-in-interaction and Conversation Analysis. This year its special topic is the Pragmatic Particles in (Greek) Talk-in-interaction.

In the study of the Modern Greek language, ‘particles’ (small, uninflected words) came to the fore already in the early 1950s through the Modern Greek Syntax (by Ach. Tzartzanos), in which the multifunctionality and heterogeneity of these linguistic items (conjunctions, adverbs, interjections, prepositions) became apparent. Contemporary linguistic research has highlighted a multitude of such items across languages, pointing to the lack (or bleaching) of their referential meaning in favor of interactional, structural-organizational, etc. functions.

The variety of theoretical and methodological approaches taken as well as the focus on, in part, different phenomena is reflected in the plethora of terms employed in the literature, for example: Abtönungspartikel (Weydt 1969), discourse markers (Schiffrin 1987, Fraser 1990, Jucker & Ziv 1998, Fischer 2013, Maschler & Schiffrin 2015), utterance particles (Luke 1990), pragmatic particles (Östman 1995, Foolen 1996, Beeching 2002), pragmatic markers (Brinton 1996, Andersen 2001, Aijmer 2013), modal particles (Aijmer 1997, Waltereit 2001), discourse particles (Aijmer 2002, Fischer 2006), interactional particles (Morita 2005), or simply particles (Heritage & Sorjonen 2018). The term pragmatic particles, employed here, is intended to cover the wide spectrum of linguistic items/constructions with indexical and meta-communicative meaning and to serve as a hypernym of the above-mentioned terms, without commitment to individual delineations and categorizations.

This year’s Symposium will also host a number of talks on pragmatic particles in other languages, so that discussion of the Greek data can be situated in the cross-linguistic perspective of talk-in-interaction. 

The keynote speaker of the Symposium will be Professor Emeritus

John Heritage (University of California at Los Angeles).

Moreover, the following experts have confirmed their participation Galina Bolden (Assoc. Professor, Rutgers University), Yael Maschler (Professor, University of Haifa), Geoffrey Raymond (Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara), Marja-Leena Sorjonen (Professor, University of Helsinki).

The aim of the Symposium is to examine systematically the functions of pragmatic particles in Modern Greek as used in ordinary or institutional interaction. Some of the issues that will be of interest are:

  • the position of a particle within the turn
  • its function in a particular position
  • its prosodic variations
  • the relationship between positions of occurrence and function
  • possible common features (‘nuclear meaning’) of the different functions
  • the sequential environment of the particles
  • the impact of the broader context (discourse type/genre, situation of communication, activity type)
  • the actions, to whose accomplishment the particles contribute
  • combinations of pragmatic particles
  • (sub)categories of pragmatic particles

Conference Web-Site: