Quotation in Dialogue

Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 15)


Quotation is ubiquitous in natural language (NL). Recent grammars that take a dialogical view on the formal and semantic properties of NLs (Ginzburg, The interactive stance: meaning for conversation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012; Gregoromichelaki et al. Dialog Discourse 2(1):199–233, 2011; Eshghi et al. Feedback in conversation as incremental semantic update. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS 2015), Queen Mary University of London, UK April 2015, 261–271, 2015) indicate that quotation mechanisms need to be integrated within the purview of standard grammatical frameworks since such mechanisms are crucially involved in metacommunicative conversational interaction. Accordingly, the account presented in Ginzburg and Cooper (J Logic Lang Inf 23(3):287–311, 2014, G&C) provides syntactic analyses, denotations, and pragmatic constraints for quotational constructions that make use of grammatical entities independently needed for the analysis of conversation. However, despite the great advances achieved by G&C, the construction-based grammar employed lacks essential integration of the psycholinguistically grounded observation that NL use relies crucially on incremental/predictive processing with context integration at each word-by-word processing stage. For this reason, certain data showing the grammatical continuum underpinning various quotational constructions as well as interactions between quotation mechanisms and conversational phenomena (split-utterances, Gregoromichelaki et al. Dialog Discourse 2(1):199–233, 2011) are not amenable to G&C’s discrete constructional approach. Based on this inadequacy of even such a state-of-the-art, comprehensive model, this chapter argues that a satisfactory account of the function of quotational devices cannot be given within standard NL theories involving the division of labour between syntax and semantics/pragmatics. Instead, it adopts a dynamic, incremental perspective that takes joint action as the basis for the definition of the grammar as advocated within Dynamic Syntax (DS, Kempson et al. Dynamic syntax: the flow of language understanding. Blackwell, Oxford, 2001) updated with the integration of some of G&C’s proposed formal constructs (DS-TTR, Purver et al. Splitting the I’s and crossing the you’s: Context, speech acts and grammar. In Proceedings of SemDial 2010 (PozDial), Poznan, Poland, 2010; Eshghi et al. Feedback in conversation as incremental semantic update. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS 2015), Queen Mary University of London, UK, April 2015, 261–271, 2015).


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heinrich Heine Universität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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