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Perspective Taking


Workshop organized as part of the Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) to be held in Leipzig, Germany, March 4-6, 2015.
Stefan Hinterwimmer, Petra B. Schumacher & Hanna Weiland; University of Cologne

Invited speakers:
Barbara Dancygier, University of British Columbia
Dale Barr, University of Glasgow

Pragmatic theories assign an important role to speakers and their intentions and beliefs. The perspective conveyed by a particular utterance impacts the interpretation of speaker meaning and it may even change the truth-values of an utterance (cf. e.g., Travis 1997). Theory of mind, which accounts for the ability to attribute mental states to oneself or others, and the notion of common ground think of perspective in a less restricted way. In language processing, the ability of shared mental states has been investigated with adults, children and in language disorders like Asperger Syndrome. These studies provide a first indication of the impact of perspective. Additionally, there are subtle variations in perspective in different pronominal forms. In this regard, typological research reveals intriguing effects of perspective.
The workshop will focus on the phenomenon of perspective-taking both from a processing and a theoretical view and address the following questions: 

  • Which aspects of perspective-taking are important for the interlocutors to succeed in daily communication? 
  • Which linguistic or general cognitive abilities are required to compute perspectival aspects during language processing? 
  • Are there default strategies that are adopted during processing (cf. e.g., Keysar et al. 2000 on the priority of egocentric perspective under certain conditions)? 
  • Is perspective-taking a marginal pragmatic phenomenon or a key aspect of human communication? 
  • How is perspective expressed linguistically (e.g., demonstratives or logophors may convey specific perspective cues)? 
  • Which distinctions are available (e.g., self-/hearer-/other-directed speech; self/source/pivot; speaker/location/thing as perspectival anchor)? 
  • How should perspective be represented (i.e. as unarticulated constituents of the sentence or as common ground)? 

We are interested in contributions from researchers who work on perspective-taking from a theoretical or empirical stance. We welcome submissions from linguistics, cognitive sciences and philosophy.


Accepted Talks

March 4, 2015


Stefan Hinterwimmer, Hanna Weiland & Petra Schumacher (Cologne): Perspective taking: An introduction


Regine Eckardt (Göttingen): Speakers and utterances: An event-based analysis of indirect speech


Corien Bary (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen): Perspective shifts in person and time


Susanna Salem, Thomas Weskott & Anke Holler (Göttingen): Does narrative perspective influence the spatial point of view in readers’ mental representation of a text? – a psycholinguistic study on free indirect discourse


Barbara Dancygier (UBC Vancouver): Viewpoint phenomena in constructions and discourse


Johannes Gerwien, Abbassia Bouhaous & Christiane von Stutterheim (Heidelberg): Typological differences in spatial and aspectual perspectivization


Sonja Zeman (LMU Munich): Confronting perspectives: Modelling perspectival complexity in language and cognition

March 5, 2015


Dale Barr (Glasgow): Perspective taking and its impostors  


Jessica Wang, Steven Frisson & Ian Apperly (Birmingham): Cognitive load affects theory of mind-use in the director task        


Kristen Secora (San Diego State University; University of California San Diego, USA), Karen Emmorey (San Diego State University, USA), Jennie Pyers (Wellesley College) & Pamela Perniss (University College London): Perspective taking in manually-produced spatial descriptions and the role of inhibitory control     


Mindaugas Mozuraitis, Craig G. Chambers & Meredyth Daneman (Toronto):  Coordinating privileged knowledge about object identity in real-time referential processing


John Michael Tomlinson & Camilo Rodríguez Ronderos (ZAS Berlin): Perspective-taking and inference: do speakers alter partial answers as a function of their epistemic states?


Alessia Tosi, Holly Branigan & Martin Pickering (Edinburgh): The role of agency, visual awareness and experiential context on visuo-spatial perspective taking

March 6, 2015


Lu Zhang, Jan Ries, Barbara Höhle & Isabell Wartenburger (Potsdam): Perspective taking and common ground effects on reference resolution  


Dagmar Bittner (ZAS Berlin): Perspectivization in German children’s narration of picture book stories


Ditte Boeg Thomsen (Copenhagen): One syllable, two perspectives: Children’s acquisition of inconspicuous viewpoint constructions  


Franziska Köder (Groningen): The attraction of self-ascription in children’s interpretation of quoted second-person pronouns     


Daniel Hole (Stuttgart): Logophoricity and complement pronominalization with German relational nouns


Eleni Peristeri, Ianthi Tsimpli & Georgia Fotiadou ‚Exploring perspective-taking in Greek-speaking individuals with High Functioning Autism: Insights from the use of pronominals in one-sentence and written narrative contexts’