On the occasion of the PhD defense of Franziska Köder, we are organizing a workshop on reported speech, pronouns, and perspective. Attendance is open to all, just send an email to for catering purposes.


  • Time: Friday, 19 February, 9:45-13:15
  • Place: Room Alfa, Faculty of Philosophy, Oude Boteringestraat 52, Groningen


9:45-10:00 Franziska Köder & Emar Maier
10:00-10:30 Elisabeth Engberg-Pedersen
Acquisition of narrator perspective and referent perspective in Danish Sign Language (DTS): The introduction of a new referen
10:30-11:00 Arie Verhagen
The inquit-construction
11:00-11:30 Coffee 
(note: Esther Ruigendijk's talk canceled)
11:30-12:00 Markus Steinbach
Spatial presuppositions in sign languages
12:00-12:30 Helen de Hoop
Mixed quotation in Sara Burgerhart
12:30-13:00 Esther Pascual
When 'Alô!' means telephone: Non-constructed speech for non-reports by children with autism

at Mr Mofongo's


Elisabeth Engberg-Pedersen (Copenhagen): "Acquisition of narrator perspective and referent perspective in Danish Sign Language (DTS): The introduction of a new referent"

Signing takes place in space in relation to an individual, the signer. Sign languages profit from this fact by providing signers with means of expressing a physical perspective on an event in space. The means are the signers’ head/body and gaze orientation, their facial expression, and the orientation and direction of movement of their hands in productively formed signs about spatial events. The term referent perspective is used of sign constructions where the expressive means are used to represent a referent’s relation to an event. The signers so to speak take on the role of one of the referents in relation to the event (constructed action – Metzger 1995; cf. direct speech). ... read full abstract here (pdf)

Arie Verhagen (Leiden): "The inquit-construction"

In this talk I will chart some differences between speech and thought reports with so-called 'fronted' versus 'postposed' reporting clauses (type "Alice said/thought: Y" versus "Y, said/thought Alice" or "Y, Alice said/thought"), in Dutch and in English. Even on the basis of preliminary observations, it seems plausible that they constitute two different syntactic constructions (in the sense of Construction Grammar), not two different linear realizations of a single construction. Also, I will speculate about the consequences of such a view for the distinction between direct, indirect, and free indirect discourse in these two languages.

Esther Ruigendijk and Hendrikje Ziemann (Oldenburg): "Reference assignment in Dutch and German Picture NPs"

In this talk, we will present work in progress on the interpretation of pronouns and reflexives in Dutch and German “picture NPs”. Reinhart and Reuland (1993, R&R) already suggested that ‘… judgments on NP anaphora are much less clear than the linguistic literature tends to assume.’ For standard binding theory, principle A can account for the grammaticality of (1), whereas an extra mechanism is needed to explain why a pronoun is possible here as well.

(1) Lucie liked a picture of herself.

Following R&R, herself is possible here, since their Condition A applies to reflexive-marked syntactic predicates and since no such predicate exists in (1) condition A does not apply (and is not violated). When a subject is included in the picture NP, as in (2), a syntactic predicate does seem to exist, and hence there is a difference between (1) and (2):

(2) */? Lucie liked your picture of herself.

But, as R &R mentioned: judgments on these NP anaphora are not so clear, and moreover, there seems to be cross-linguistic variation. In German for instance, (3) has been judged to be ungrammatical with a reflexive.

(3) Max sah, dass ein Foto von ihm/*sich…
Max saw, that a picture of him/*himself..

We examined the acceptability and interpretation of pronouns and reflexives in picture NPs in Dutch and German with sentences with a picture NP as in (1), as well as with picture NPs with a possessor or a subject in the embedded sentence. We ran a questionnaire study in both languages. First results show clear differences between Dutch and German in acceptability judgements and interpretation.

Markus Steinbach (Göttingen): "Spatial presuppositions in sign languages"

In this talk, I offer a new analysis of reference tracking in sign languages. I argue that spatial features on the D-head should be analyzed as interpretable feature in syntax that are visible at the interface to discourse semantics. In semantics, these features trigger a subdivision of the set of discourse referents and they assign the discourse referent of the corresponding DP to a certain subset of the set of discourse referents. This subset is defined by the respective locus feature. Consequently the spatial presupposition introduced by anaphoric expressions in sign language targets the subsets of discourse referents and anaphora resolution depends on the discourse referent(s) contained in the corresponding subset. I also argue that this mechanism is not modality-specific. Many spoken languages use D-internal gender features in a similar way to constrain anaphora resolution.

Helen de Hoop (Nijmegen): "Mixed quotation in Sara Burgerhart"

In free indirect discourse pronouns (as well as tense) are presented from the narrator’s perspective, while the rest of the proposition is presented from the character’s perspective. In Dutch literary prose Free indirect discourse for the representation of thoughts is found as of the 19th century, but Clement (2014) points out that there are already examples of free indirect discourse representing speech in the epistolary novel Sara Burgerhart (1782), generally considered the first modern novel in Dutch literature. I found another remarkable type of free indirect discourse in Sara Burgerhart, that has gone unnoticed before (as far as I know). I will argue in my talk that this type can be analyzed as a clear case of 'mixed quotation' in accordance with Emar Maier’s approach to free indirect discourse.

Esther Pascual (Zhejiang): "When 'Alô!' means telephone: Non-constructed speech for non-reports by children with autism"

It is well-known that reported speech is rarely a verbatim representation of prior discourse and may even be 'constructed' (Tannen 1986, 1989; Clark and Gerrig 1990). What is less known is that literal quotations are often used for more than reproducing past discourse, as in “I do ring” or “I Have A Dream foundation’ (Pascual 2014). Children with autism often use verbatim or paraphrased repetitions of previous interactions or formulaic expressions as communicative strategy. Instances are saying "Alô!" to refer to a telephone or "Goal!!" to refer to a football match (Dornelas & Pascual forth.). I will present a naturalistic and an elicitation study of five autistic children and two control groups. The preliminary results show that non-constructed speech is successfully used as conversational strategy by autistic children and young typically developing children, and used as a pragmatic option by non-autistic children over six years of age.
Emar Maier,
Jan 20, 2016, 4:41 AM