Project "Constitution of meaning in social interaction (interactional semantics)"

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Arnulf Deppermann

Team: Prof. Dr. Arnulf Deppermann, Oleksandra Gubina, Dr. Henrike Helmer, Dr. Nadine Proske, Dr. Silke Reineke, Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy, PD Dr. Jörg Zinken

The meaning of linguistic expressions is commonly underspecified or polysemous. Participants therefore often need to specify the particular local meaning of a linguistic structure or verbal move to maintain intersubjectivity. The project examines the practices interactants use to constitute the local meaning of expressions and actions in interaction. Such practices include, for example, definitions, (re-)formulations/interpretations, turn-expansions or exemplifications by means of narratives. In many contexts, multimodal resources such as bodily demonstrations or pointing gestures are relevant as well. Practices used in, and the trajectory of, the interactive constitution of meaning depend heavily on the course of the interaction so far, the participants' common ground, and the recipient design of relevant utterances. Since participants constitute meaning for all practical purposes, questions about the relevance of the particular setting also arise.

We use the methods of interactional linguistics, conversation analysis, video-based multimodal interaction analysis, and quantitative corpus linguistics. Methodologically, the project is interested in the role of interactive and cognitive processes for the situated constitution of meaning.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Arnulf Deppermann, deppermann(at); Oleksandra Gubina, gubina(at); Dr. Henrike Helmer, helmer(at); Dr. Nadine Proske, proske(at); Dr. Silke Reineke, reineke(at); Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy, spranz(at); PD Dr. Jörg Zinken, zinken(at)