Fall School Program

October 01-04, 2012: Courses (descriptions below)

  • Theoretical linguistics
    Emar Maier: The semantics and pragmatics of free indirect discourse
  • Literary studies
    Frank Hakemulder: (Psycho)narratological foundations of free indirect discourse
  • Sign language linguistics
    Josep Quer: Reports in the visual-gestural modality
  • Psycholinguistics
    Thomas Weskott: Experimental studies on free indirect discourse

Download the full timetable of the fall school.

Course descriptions

Emar Maier (University of Groningen)
The semantics and pragmatics of free indirect discourse (theoretical linguistics)

The aim of the course is to give a thorough overview of the (still limited) range of semantic approaches to Free Indirect Discourse currently on offer. In the first lecture, I review the central characteristics of Free Indirect Discourse and other forms of reported speech/thought. I conclude that Free Indirect Discourse is distinct from both standard direct and standard indirect discourse. The second lecture focuses on the approaches that assimilate free indirect discourse to direct discourse, treating both in terms of semantic context shifting (Banfield 1982, Schlenker 1999/2004, Eckardt ms). The third lecture reconstructs Sharvit's (2008) analysis of Free Indirect Discourse as "monstrous" indirect discourse. In the final lecture I will offer my own, more pragmatic analysis in terms of mixed quotation and "unquotation".

Frank Hakemulder (University of Utrecht)
(Psycho)narratological foundations of free indirect discourse (literary studies)

Empirical studies of literature combine insights of literary scholarship with methods of the social sciences. After offering you an overview of this discipline we will focus on two specific subfields that may be relevant for our Fall School. The first, psychonarratology, tests assumptions about the effects of different forms of narration on readers and spectators (Bortolussi & Dixon, 2003). We will discuss the results of one particular aspect of psychonarratology, attempting to answer the following question: what can psychological experimentation tell us about the way narrative perspective affects readers’ perception?
The second subfield we will discuss, that of empirical stylistics, examines the alleged influence of (literary) devices on the reception process (e.g., Miall, 2006). We will look at one particular group of studies in empirical stylistics, namely those that test the assumptions of foregrounding theory: what is the evidence for the assumption that deviations from ‘normal language’ are key to understanding the distinctive effects of literature?
Finally we will discuss a small group of studies at the intersection of psychonarratology and empirical stylistics: we will see whether the free indirect discourse hypothesis (Rimmon-Kenan, 1983) stands empirical testing.

Josep Quer (ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
Reports in the visual-gestural modality (sign language linguistics)

Discourse reporting in sign languages is characterized, on the one hand, by referential displacement of indexical expressions and, on the other, by overt marking through an array of non-manual signals (eyegaze, body shift, facial expression, etc.) known as role shift in the sign language literature. At face value, role shift looks like direct quotation, but research of this phenomenon in specific sign languages has shown that more fine-grained distinctions can be identified.
In this course, a state of the art of our knowledge about discourse reporting in sign languages will be offered. Special attention will be devoted to the behaviour of indexicals in reports. The alleged peculiarities of sign language reporting will be analyzed against the background of what we know about report varieties attested in spoken languages, thus going beyond the classical direct/indirect discourse distinction. In this sense, typological studies in this domain will be of particular interest. Ultimately, we will try to understand whether the visual-gestural modality has a real impact on the formal properties of signed reports.

Thomas Weskott (University of Göttingen)
Experimental studies on free indirect discourse (psycholinguistics)

The phenomenon of Free Indirect Discourse (FID) has received a lot of attention from theoretical linguists, especially semanticists. Experimental approaches from Psycholinguistics, however, seem to be lagging behind. This has only partly to do with the general problem of investigating the mental processing and representation of larger pieces of text, but rather with the
fact that the effects of FID on processing seem to be rather subtle.
In this course, we will review the existing literature on the on-line and off-line effects connected to the processing and representation of FID; figure out how it can be approached by using experimental methods that tap into different stages of discourse processing, and see how perspectivization (as one rather obvious effect of FID) can be "measured" by employing a number of experimental tasks (ratings, reading and memory tasks, among others). There are no specific requirements for participation, but familiarity with the basics of (psycholinguistic) hypothesis testing might be helpful.