Concessives vs. Adversatives: Opposing Opposition

Organized by:

Elena Castroviejo (Ikerbasque and UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz)

Berit Gehrke (HU Berlin)

Laia Mayol (UPF, Barcelona)

Invited speakers

Katja Jasinskaja (Köln)

Mingya Liu (Osnabrück)

Meeting description

Concessive and adversative relations, introduced by adverbs (e.g. nevertheless), prepositions (in spite of), complementizers (e.g. while) and conjunctions (e.g. but), express a contrast to the element they are related to and raise different issues in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Adversative clauses have been studied in relation to information and discourse structure (and the notion of contrast, e.g. Sœbø 2004, Umbach 2005, Jasinskaja 2012, Jasinskaja & Zeevat 2008, 2009, Zeevat 2012, Winterstein 2012), as well as in terms of argumentation theory (Anscombre & Ducrot 1983). Concessives, on the other hand, have been examined alongside causal and conditional clauses, notably by König (1986, 1994) and König & Siemund (2000), and recently also by Liu (in preparation), in investigating experimentally the connection between connectives and conditionals. However, concessives and adversatives have not been systematically compared and contrasted.

The goals of this AG are the following: (1) to debate formal semantic and pragmatic characterisations of adversative and concessive constructions; (2) to discuss analyses of constructions that include adversative or concessive semantics, such as scalar modifiers (at least, as discussed e.g. in Nakanishi & Rullmann 2009 and Biezma 2013); (3) to compare cross-linguistic, diachronic, experimental and theoretical approaches on the topic, and, (4), ultimately, to deepen our understanding of the semantic and pragmatic distinction between coordination and subordination, as well as the notion of opposition that underlies these semantic and pragmatic relations. Further topics of interest include the import of mood marking (e.g. subjunctive vs. indicative, see e.g. Quer 1998), the question as to what is negated, the semantics-pragmatics of the elements involved in the expression of this relation (adverbs, prepositions, complementizers, conjunctions), the acquisition of concessive and adversative expressions (which are generally assumed to be acquired late), the diachronic development of such expressions (for example, many concessive adverbials are grammaticalized expressions, such as Spanish sin embargo ‘nevertheless, lit. without + seizure’, German trotzdem ‘nevertheless, lit. despite + demonstrative’, Catalan això no obstant ‘nevertheless, lit. this not preventing’), or the number of meaning types conveyed in the expression of adversativity and concession (e.g. Iten 2000).

Important dates

August 15, 2018: Deadline for abstract submission (see the Call for Papers)

September 10, 2018: Notification of acceptance

March 6-8, 2019: Workshop


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