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Workshop at the 46th annual meeting of the DGfS in Bochum, Feb 28th - Mar 1st, 2024

Attitudinal meaning in prosody

The attitude that a speaker is taking towards what they are saying or towards their interlocutor may influence the prosodic realization of their utterance. Examples include (but are not limited to) attitudes resulting in the prosodic marking of otherwise ambiguous sentences as particular speech acts (e.g., as exclamations, or questions), speech-act-modifying attitudes such as incredulity, doubt, rhetoricity, and/or reluctance for instance for questions, sarcasm and irony, and, more generally, a speaker's emotions. Independently of the issue if phenomena of attitudinal stance are extra-grammatical (e.g., emotions) or grammatical (e.g., question prosody), they all clearly affect the meaning that is conveyed by the speaker.

We hypothesize that it is a strong cross-linguistic tendency that attitudinal meaning can be encoded in prosody, and that listeners of different languages employ different strategies to decode and interpret prosodic cues to attitude.

This workshop aims to discuss the following questions:

  1. Which prosodic cues (intonation, rhythm, intensity, voice quality, etc.) can be used in which ways to encode and decode attitudinal meaning?
  2. Which aspects of the prosodic marking of attitudinal meaning are obligatory, which are optional (in a given language), and how are available cues weighted?
  3. How conventionalized are the prosodic expressions of attitudinal meaning in individual languages, and how variable are they typologically?
  4. How do language learners (L1 and L2) use and interpret attitudinal prosody?

We invite contributions from researchers working on (cross-linguistic aspects of) prosody with interfaces to pragmatics and semantics, also from the perspective of language acquisition. Contributions from early career researchers are particularly welcome.


You can find the preliminary workshop program here.

Call for papers

We invite submissions for 20-minute presentations (plus 10-minute discussions). Abstracts should not exceed one A4 page in length, excluding references. Graphs may also be placed on the second page. Submissions should be made as anonymous PDFs on EasyChair. Please name your abstract as follows: [short-title].pdf. Deadline for abstract submissions: September 1st, 2023.

For the final conference booklet, you will have to create a de-anonymized version of your abstract that fits on one page including references and graphs. Please keep this in mind already.

Please note that based on the DGfS regulations, one may not present at more than one workshop at the conference, but being a co-author on more than one presentation is allowed.

Date and venue

February 28th - March 1st, 2024. Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Conference website