W091
Talking through uncertainty: linguistic and multimodal analysis of uncertain speech situations

Convenors:
Valentina Vapnarsky (Université Paris Ouest - CNRS)
Michel de Fornel (EHESS)
Location:
S304
Start time:
13 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This workshop is dedicated to fine-grained analyses of how situations of uncertainty are revealed, handled and eventually overcome through language use, as part of multimodal communication. It is mainly addressed to researches in the domains of linguistic anthropology and pragmatics.

Long abstract:

This workshop is dedicated to fine-grained analyses of how situations of uncertainty are revealed, handled and eventually overcome through language use, as part of multimodal communication. It is mainly addressed to researches in the domains of linguistic anthropology and pragmatics. Studies in pragmatics have amply demonstrated that oral communication is based on inferentially-driven interpretations and mutual knowledge, induced by the diverse components of verbal interactions. At the same time, many non-routine interactions involve some uncertainty as regards the elements which make up the context of interpretation: the perception of the event itself, be it unexpected or ritualized, the nature or identity of the entities/persons present, the assessment of others' intentions and knowledge, the anticipation of the co-participant actions, and more broadly the understanding of the outcome of the current event. This workshop will discuss the various linguistic devices (e.g. markers of modality, evidentiality, causality, lexicon selection, prosodic contours) as well as the other semiotic resources of communication (gesture, posture, gaze, etc.) used by the participants in order to reveal or make manifest the uncertainty of the situation. These linguistic and communicative means play a substantial role in the unfolding of the situation, and the way uncertainty may evolve into (partial) understanding or rather be assumed as a shared stance by the other participants, and how it is used contextually as an instrument of social integration or exclusion. They are crucial to the comprehension of the role of uncertainty in culturally defined types of interactions.