Bochum, 19-20 June 2017
Over the last few decades we observe a growing interest in using experimental methods to investigate semantic and pragmatic theories. Experimental pragmatics has become a flourishing interdisciplinary research area. Aside from behavioral methods, such as reaction time measurement, eye-tracking and acceptability judgments, researchers have become increasingly interested in investigating language processing on the neural level and by this means shedding more light on semantic and pragmatic theories. To this end, they employ techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Although this enterprise has resulted in a large amount of interesting data about linguistic processing, the interpretation of these results remains debated with respect to their relevance for more formal theories of meaning. On the one hand, it often is difficult to formulate clear processing predictions for semantic and pragmatic theories, on the other hand, the theoretical interpretation of the activations observed with neuroimaging tools is not fully understood. As a result, the neurolinguistics and formal semantic/pragmatic communities remain still rather disjoint. In this workshop we would like to bridge the gap and discuss the challenges of combining the two approaches.
Maria Spychalska & Markus Werning