Compact course:

Social Meaning

Micaella Portilla, Vitoria-Gasteiz

21-23 November 2018

 If you are planning to join, please send a quick note by 19 November  to Katie,

LLF & CNRS-Paris Diderot


Beyond truth-conditional meaning, there is also meaning with information about speakers: "social meaning". More specifically, this meaning comprises concepts such as identity construction, social group, attitude about social groups, education, gender, age.  Research in this field combines insights from variationist sociolinguistics, philosophy, semantics, and game-theoretic/probabilistic pragmatics to study and formally model phenomena such as slurs. 


This course gives an introduction to the theory of social meaning, its interaction with truth-conditional theory, and how to quantitatively model this meaning.

There will be two sessions of 1,5 hours each of the three days. The first sessions will be an introduction to social meaning theory, including an explanation of methodological issues. Then, they will present particular case studies where these methods have been implemented, e.g., Heather's work on lesbian and dyke and Andrea's work on intensifiers.


The instructors will also be available for individual meetings if you are interested. 


Selected References

Beltrama, A. (In press). Pragmatic precision and speaker qualities. Exploring social meaning across domains. Linguistics Vanguard.
Beltrama, A. (2018). Totally between discourse and subjectivity. Exploring the pragmatic side of intensification. Journal of Semantics. 35(2), 219–261
Burnett, H. (2018). Signalling games, sociolinguistic variation and the construction of style. accepted in Linguistics & Philosophy. 
Burnett, H. and Bonami, O. (2018). Linguistic prescription, ideological structure and the actuation of linguistic changes: Grammatical gender in french parliamentary debates. in revision for Language in Society. 
Campbell-Kibler, K. (2009). The nature of sociolinguistic perception. Language Variation and Change, 21(1):135–156. 
Eckert, P. (2012). Three waves of variation study: The emergence of meaning in the study of sociolinguistic variation. Annual review of Anthropology, 41:87–100.
Franke, M. and Jäger, G. (2016). Probabilistic pragmatics, or why Bayes’ rule is probably important for pragmatics. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft, 35:3–44.

© 2017 by HiTT Linguistics  (IT1396-19)

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