The grammar of interactional language. Cambridge University PressTraditional grammar and current theoretical approaches towards modelling grammatical knowledge ignore language in interaction: that is, words such as huh, eh, yup or yessssss. This groundbreaking book addresses this gap by providing the first in-depth overview of approaches towards interactional language across different frameworks and linguistic sub-disciplines. Based on the insights that emerge, a formal framework is developed to discover and compare language in interaction across different languages: the interactional spine hypothesis. Two case-studies are presented: confirmationals (such as eh and huh) and response markers (such as yes and no), both of which show evidence for systematic grammatical knowledge. Assuming that language in interaction is regulated by grammatical knowledge sheds new light on old questions concerning the relation between language and thought and the relation between language and communication. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the relation between language, cognition and social interaction. A 2 minute flash talk that summarizes a poster Betsy Ritter and I gave at the CLA 2021 Sichel, I. & M. Wiltschko. 2021. The logic of Person markedness: Evidence from pronominal competition Language 97. 42-71.
We argue that the use of a d-pronoun in German and Hebrew when a personal pronoun could also have been used gives rise to an implicature that the d-pronoun is associated with [-person] deriving a negative evaluation of the referent. We conclue that PERSON is a contentful category which marks discourse participation. [pre-publication version]
Martina Wiltschko. Under review. Do eyes make words? Do words see them? The grammar of multi-modal interaction. An analysis is proposed for the form-meaning pairing in a minimal summons-answer adjacency pair: a prolonged stare answered by what. It is argued that the stare constitutes a genuine initiation move which licenses the use of what. It is shown that this use of what is restricted to answer initiation moves and cannot be used to react to any kind of situation. It is further shown that the interpretation of what in this context does not derive from ellipsis of a full sentence (i.e., What are. you looking at?). It is shown that the interpretation of what and the stare can straightforwardly be explained if it is assumed that these forms associate with a preconfigured structure which adds meaning to isolated units of language. The special role of eye-gaze is discussed: unlike words, which cannot be used outside of language, eye-gaze always has a dual function: to observe and to interact
Martina Wiltschko. Under review. Language is for thought and communication.My argument is based on the fact that the universal spine regulates not only propositional language but also interactional language. If interaction is built into languag structure, it must be the case that language is "designed" both for thinking and for communication.
Martina Wiltschko (with Wolfram Hinzen) (Under review). Knowledge is basic. Evidence from linguistic markedness. [Ms. available upon request]
We present evidence from a range of linguistic phenomena that the most unmarked types ofclauses are used to assert a speaker’s knowledge about the actual world. This evidence includespropositional attitude verbs, modality, clause-typing, mood, evidentiality, and discourseparticles. While it is not the case that knowledge cannot be marked as such, we show that it neednot be linguistically marked. This invites the conclusion that knowledge is also the most basicmental representation, thus contributing to a long-standing philosophical debate regarding thenature of knowledge.
Brittany McDonald, Elizabeth Ritter & Martina Wiltschko (under review) Pronouns and paranouns. A new pronominal typology. [ms. available upon request]
In Japanese the forms typically referred to as pronouns have a very different distribution from pronouns in languages such as French and German. For this reason, Japanese pronouns are sometimes characterized as noun-like, though they do not have the same distribution as nouns. The core of this paper is devoted to developing an analysis that captures this conundrum. Specifically, we argue that the so-called pronouns in Japanese are neither nouns nor pronouns; rather they belong to another category of nominals, which we call paranouns. We argue that while pronouns occupy the functional struture of nominal constituents, paranouns occupy the interactional structure. We extend the analysis to formality distinctions in pronominal systems, arguing that formal pronouns are recycled into the interactional structure.
Johannes Heim & Martina Wiltschko. Timing of Belief as a Key to Cross-Linguistic Variation in Tag Questions. To appear in: Special issue of Linguistic Vanquard: Non-canonical questions from a comparative perspective, co-edited by Andreas Trotzke & Anna Czypionka.
Ritter, E. & M. Wiltschko (to appear) Interacting with vocatives! Proceedings of the CLA 2020
Ritter, E. & M. Wiltschko. (to appear) The syntax of formality. Universals and Variation. Proceedings fo the CLA 2019
Colasanti V. & M. Wiltschko (in print) Spatial and discourse deixis and the speech act structure of nominals. Proceedings of the CLA 2019
Barrie, M., A. Li, M. Wiltschko; J.U.Park (to appear). In defence of DP (or KP). Linguistic Research
Bruening et al. (2018) present a reanalysis of the DP Hypothesis, arguing that nominal phrases are NPs and that functional elements such as number and determiners appear in the specifier of NP. We take issue with a number of their claims, arguing that the DP Hypothesis (re-named here as the DP/KP Hypothesis) is in fact not in jeopardy. We review their discussion and present our counter arguments. First, we address their discussion of the development of the DP Hypothesis, and include several critical references they did not include in their overview. Their claim that the DP Hypothesis largely rests on an architectural parallel with the extended verbal projection ignore a large body of literature in which morphological, syntactic, and semantic evidence is adduced for an articulated nominal structure. They discuss several lines of evidence based on selection in support of their claim that nominal phrases are headed by N. We show that their claims fail for empirical and theoretical reasons. Specifically, once the assumption of another layer of structure above DP (namely KP) is acknowledged, their arguments against the functional architecture in nominal phrases no longer hold. We conclude that the DP/KP Hypothesis is still the best explanation for the cross-linguistic facts on nominal phrases.
- September 20 2021: Colloquium, CRISCO, Caen. Finding competence in communicative interaction.
- December 9-11 2021: Invited speaker at CSSP 2021 What is the syntax-pragmatics interface?
- June 8-10 2022: Invited speaker at SALT 32, Mexico city. Where is semantics?
- Why do we talk? A syntactician's point of view. Colloquium Universitat Pompeu Fabra. June 10 2021
- Grammar constrains the way we talk to ourselves. (with Elizabeth Ritter) June 4-7 2021 Canadian Linguistic Association.
- The grammar of knowing. Some lessons from cross-linguistic patterns of markedness. Comparative Syntax Meeting Leiden University Center for Linguistics, May 20, 2021
- How to be emotional with language (and despite it). Colloquium, University of Manitoba. April 9 2021
- How to build common ground, one syntactic layer at a time. CRISSP seminar, Brussels, Belgium, March 24th, 2021
- The grammar of interactional language:the case of vocatives. Colloquium UofT Feb 5 and University of Cologne Feb 3 202
- Do eyes make words? Do words see them? Dutch Linguistic Day, January 29 2021
- The grammar of emotions and the absence thereof. Oslo, Colloquium Superlinguistics. November 6, 2020
- Language as an instrument of thought and communication.
Evidence from interactional language. Colloquium, Linguistic circle, University of Edinburgh. October 15, 2020
- On the relation between language, thought and communication. Interactional language as a window into the human mind. Colloquim in the Linguistics seminar at CUHK, Hong Kong, September 2020.