Workshop “Non-At-Issue Meaning and Information Structure”

Organizers: Nadine Bade (ObTrEx), Patrick Grosz (UiO), Pritty Patel-Grosz (UiO), Uli Sauerland (SSI)
Venue: University of Oslo, May 8-10 2017

Please find more detailed information and the call for paper at the workshop’s webpage!

Workshop description:
Non-at-issue meaning, such as presuppositions and conventional implicatures, and information-structural phenomena, such as topic, focus and givenness (cf. Krifka 2008), are topics in their own right that have often been investigated independently from each other (for instance, Potts’s 2015 overview article of non-at-issue meaning barely touches on the topic of information structure). However, in recent approaches to discourse and in information structure, the focus has shifted onto the connection between (non-)at-issueness and an implicit or explicit Question Under Discussion (QUD, see Roberts 1996, 2012, Büring 2003), as in the work of Simons et al. (2011) and Tonhauser et al. (2013); from this perspective, at-issue content may be construed as content that is relevant to (answering) the current QUD.
In this workshop, we explicitly focus on the interconnectedness of non-at-issue meanings (such as presuppositions and conventional implicatures) and information structure (i.e. topic, focus and givenness). We aim at doing so beyond (but not excluding) much-exploited connections such as the analysis of prosodic focus or sentential background as presupposition triggers (see Sæbø 2016:129 for a recent handbook discussion). As a case in point, Sæbø (2016:141) emphasizes the plausibility that focus-background structuring of a sentence interacts, at least indirectly, with the presuppositions of that sentence.