Problems & Perspectives
Madrid, 15-17 October 2009
The distinction between conceptual and procedural content, which represents a new view on a long-standing semantic distinction, is a major component of Relevance Theory. According to Wilson and Sperber (1993: 1), an utterance can be expected “to encode two basic types of information: representational and computational, or conceptual and procedural –that is, information about the representations to be manipulated, and information about how to manipulate them.”
Research on procedural content has already produced very noteworthy results in many areas. However, there are still a number of questions that require further clarification and more detailed analysis. The conference is intended to be a meeting point for those working on procedural meaning from different points of view and to identify new challenges that will determine the directions for research in the next few years.
The conference call encourages the presentation of contributions in three main areas: theoretical, analytical-descriptive and experimental.
Within the theoretical focus, enquiries on topics such as the following would be appropriate:
· the distinction between conceptual and procedural content
· theoretical characterization of procedural content, its defining features, nature and status
· the type of units that encode these contents
· the relationship between procedural content and grammatical categories
· the differences between procedural content that contributes to explicit content and that which contributes to implicatures
· diachronic processes in the emergence of procedural meaning
· the relationship between semantic change and grammaticalization
· the existence of universal restrictions on the type of procedural content that can be encoded in a language
· the consequences of all of these characterizations for semantic and pragmatic theory and the interface between grammar and pragmatics.
Analytical and descriptive proposals could be related to any kind of linguistic unit or aspect of grammar with procedural content, including:
· nominal reference
· discourse anaphora
· affective meaning
· tense and temporal reference
· word order and information structure
· the procedural function of prosody
· discourse markers,
Any of the above topics would allow for treatment in experimental terms; thus, the following types of investigations are equally welcome:
· neurological or psychological research contributing reliable data on processing effort in the computation of procedural content
· brain areas involved in processing this kind of content and types of inferential processes,
· computational models
· experimental studies on acquisition of procedural content both in L1 and L2
· experimental studies supporting the establishment or bases of significant correlations among the different points in the areas of focus.
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