Stadt: Lugano (Schweiz)

Frist: 2021-06-30

Beginn: 2022-02-07

Ende: 2022-02-09


The meeting is organized by the team of the SNF research project ‘’The categorization of information sources in face-to-face interaction: a study based on the TIGR-corpus of spoken Italian’’ (InfinIta) (FNS subsidy no. 100012_192771, USI, 2020- 2024). It takes an interactional approach to evidentiality, focusing on evidential strategies in spoken language beyond grammatical and lexical markers.

In discourse, the orientation to sources of knowledge is part of epistemic stance taking. Sources may become relevant in actions that frame the uttered content as a proposition, i.e. as a piece of knowledge, and imply claims and attributions of knowledgeability. Such actions can be described as being situated in a question-assertion function space or, in a speech act perspective, as a set that prominently includes illocutionary acts of the assertive family. In conversation, they correspond to information requests, confirmation requests, candidate understandings, hypotheses, good guesses, predictions, informings, assessments, claims, justifications, etc. etc. and participate in a great variety of sequentially organized action trajectories.

The turn design and sequential implications of such actions are not only sensitive to the quantitative distribution of knowledge among participants (Who knows how much?), but also, in some cases, to the sources of knowledge, i.e. the way participants access (acquire) knowledge.

For example, a participant’s direct access to an event (the fact the he/she has, or is supposed to have, experienced an event on his/her own) is regularly treated as conferring him/her a particularly knowledgeable status when it comes to talking about that event. The opposition between direct and indirect access to knowledge therefore influences the formation, ascription, design and sequential organization of questions and informings. In other cases, it is the participants’ perceptual access to the immediate surrounding in the moment of speaking – including the discourse of others – that becomes a source for the uttered content and contributes to define the action itself. Another type of source that is specifically linked to subsets of actions in the question-assertion space is inference. Inference is publicly displayed in turns and sequences that establish argumentative links between propositions (e.g. backing up a claim by an argument). Linguistically informed research about argumentation based on written corpora not only has shown that arguers frequently recur to inferential evidential markers to categorize and underline links between textually spelled out propositions; it has also been argued that argumentation may be viewed as an evidential strategy in its own right.

Links between propositions and their sources become recognizable thanks to a variety of practices. These are based on the simultaneousness and adjacency of perceptual experience and talk, on the sequential concatenation of actions, and/or on verbal reference to sources. Reference to sources may be more or less specific: participants can refer to specific events of knowledge acquisition or categorize sources more generically. Reference to sources can take the form of autonomous utterances (e.g. in pre-, post- or retrosequences) or – what has been studied mainly in linguistic approaches to information source – can be made by means of utterance internal/peripherical grammatical markers and lexical constructions. The entire range of these practices is what is understood here as evidential strategies.

The investigation of evidential strategies in the broadest sense is not only useful to better understand knowledge-related social action. It is also crucial, in a linguistic perspective, to develop hypotheses about the way specialized lexical and grammatical evidential markers emerge in interaction. The meeting intends to bring together linguists and analysts of talk-in-interaction to reflect on such strategies in spoken language.

The organizers welcome contributions based on spoken data in various languages on the following topics:
– the role of sources of knowledge in epistemic stance taking, action formation and action ascription;
– sequentially organized practices relating utterances to sources that are present in situ or referred to in the surrounding cotext;
– the evidential dimension of argumentative actions in talk-in-interaction;
– form and function of evidential markers/constructions in spoken language studied in their sequential environment.

The talks will last 25 minutes and will be followed by 5 minutes of discussion. Contributors are invited to present an abstract in English or Italian of no more than 500 words (references included) in line with one of the topics indicated above. It must clearly state the research question, include a brief description of the theoretical framework and of the methods used and highlight the originality of the proposal. The abstract must be anonymous: neither the text, nor the list of references must contain information about the author. Each participant can be primary author of only one contribution.
To submit an abstract, please refer to the following page:

The official languages of the meeting are English and Italian. Authors who choose to present in Italian should provide slides and/or a written script in English.

April 15, 2021 – Opening of the submission phase
June 30, 2021 – Deadline for the submission of abstracts
September 15, 2021 – Notification of acceptance/rejection
December 15, 2021 – Early bird registration deadline
January 20, 2022 – Standard registration deadline
February 7-9, 2022 – Meeting

Invited speakers:
Jérôme Jacquin (University of Lausanne, CH)
Lorenza Mondada (University of Basel, CH)
Ilana Mushin (University of Queensland, AU)
Paola Pietrandrea (University of Lille, FR)

The event will be organized as a face-to-face / hybrid meeting if this is compatible with anti-Covid-19 assembly and travel restrictions in Switzerland. USI takes adequate disinfection measures and provides sufficiently large rooms to guarantee social distancing. If anti-Covid-19 rules should forbid gatherings and travelling, the meeting will be held virtually. In that scenario, talks will be given by videoconference and will be recorded and stored for a limited amount of time together with the session’s chat logs and presentation documents, restricting access to registered participants. Opportunities for informal interaction among participants will be provided.

Beitrag von: Johanna Miecznikowski

Redaktion: Ursula Winter