Linguistics and English Language

Meaning and grammar seminar

Speaker: Marian Marchal (Universit├Ąt des Saarlandes)

Title: Beyond connectives: (Extra-)linguistic cues for inferring discourse relations

Abstract: Connectives like because or nevertheless have been shown to play an important role in processing the relation between different propositions in a text. However, the majority of discourse relations are not signaled by a connective and the relation between different clauses can often still be established. In this talk, I present a series of studies on the role of extra-linguistic (domain knowledge), meta-linguistic (genre) and syntactical (clause structure) cues for discourse relations.

The results from the various studies show that readers employ information from different linguistic and extra-linguistic sources to infer discourse relations. However, they also reveal the limits of the influence of these cues on discourse processing. For example, background knowledge is a prerequisite for using some non-connective linguistic signals. Furthermore, the results of different on-line and off-line tasks are not always in line. These findings shed more light on the nature of non-connective cues and the extent to which they influence discourse processing.


Seminars are organised by the meaning and grammar research group.

Meaning and grammar research group

If you'd like more information on dates and venues this semester, or if you'd like to present, please email Richard Wilson, or subscribe to our mailing list.

Richard Wilson

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Nov 07 2023 -

Meaning and grammar seminar

2023-11-07: Beyond connectives: (Extra-)linguistic cues for inferring discourse relations

Room SR6, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD