Project A02

Semantics and Pragmatics in the Konstanz Tricky Corpus and in deliberative communication

Principal Investigators: Bettina Braun
Nicole Dehé
Maribel Romero

Project Description:
Interrogative and declarative utterances in dialog are primarily used to request and provide factual information respectively. But this is not the only information they convey. In addition to its propositional content, an utterance may express emphasis (information structure), convey speaker emotion (expressive content), and carry out different types and subtypes of speech acts, (here, illocutionary acts in general and epistemically loaded queries in particular). Furthermore, even when we limit ourselves to the propositional content of the sentence, propositions can be distributed over different meaning "tiers" or dimensions, such as the at-issue tier and the conventional implicature tie. Nonpropositional information and the distribution of the propositional information over meaning tiers is encoded prosodically and/or syntactically in the speech signal, and both kinds of information play an important role in every-day question/answer dialogs and in deliberative communication. The aim of this project is to lay the empirical foundations to investigate what exactly these pieces of meaning are in some under-studied constructions and what their final rhetorical effect in discourse is. More concretely, for the 2 years of the FI, the goal is to furnish the semantic/pragmatic annotation of the Konstanz Tricky Corpus in a way that is theoretically sound and empirically correct from the point of view of the grammar as well as sufficiently fine-grained and relevant for practical applications to political and deliberative discourse. As such, A02 serves as a bridge between A01, which analyses the prosody and syntax of the speech signal, and B01, which uses the rhetorical, semantic/pragmatic import of the speech cues to investigate aspects of deliberative communication.