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


References

Anscombre, J.C., & Ducrot, O. (1983). L’argumentation dans la langue. Brussels: Pierre Mardaga.

Biezma, M. (2013). Only one at least: Refining the role of discourse in building alternatives. In U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, Volume 19.1.

Iten, C.B. (2000). ‘Non-truth-conditional’ meaning, relevance and concessives. PhD Thesis, University College London.

Jasinskaja, K. (2012). Correction by adversative and additive markers. Lingua 122: 1899-1918.

Jasinskaja, K., & Zeevat, H. (2008). Explaining additive, adversative and contrast marking in Russian and English. Revue de Sémantique et Pragmatique 24:65-91.

Jasinskaja, K., & Zeevat, H. (2009). Contrast in Russian and English. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 13, eds. A. Riester & T. Solstad, Stutgart: OPUS, 231-246.

König, E. (1986). Conditionals, concessive conditionals and concessives: Areas of contrast, overlap and neutralization. In On Conditionals, ed. E.C. Traugott, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 229-246.

König, E. (1991). Concessive relations as the dual of causal relations. Semantic Universals and Universal Semantics, ed. D. Zaefferer, Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 190-209.

Konig, E., & Siemund, P. (2000). Causal and concessive clauses: Formal and semantic relations. In Cause-condition-concession-contrast: Cognitive and discourse perspectives, ed. E. Couper-Kuhlen, E., & B. Kortmann (Topics in English Linguistics, Vol. 33). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 341-360.

Liu, M. (in preparation). The wenn/falls contrast in German: With experimental evidence. Ms. U. Osnabrück.

Nakanishi, K., & Rullmann, H. (2009). Epistemic and Concessive Interpretation of at least. Talk presented at the Canadian Linguistic Association (CLA) 2009.

Quer, J. (1998). Mood at the Interface. PhD Thesis, LOT.

Sœbø, K. J. (2004). Conversational contrast and conventional parallel: Topic implicatures and additive presuppositions. Journal of Semantics 21.2:199-217.

Umbach, C. (2005). Contrast and information structure: A focus-based analysis of ‘but’. Linguistics 43.1:207-232.

Winterstein, G. (2012). What but-sentences argue for: An argumentative analysis of but. Lingua 122: 1864-1885.

Zeevat, H. (2012). Objection marking and additivity. Lingua 122: 1886-1898.