Workshop on

Formal and Computational Approaches to Discourse
and Other Particles

Barcelona, 7-8 April 2005

motivation aim and scope people involved contact

Discourse particles form an important borderline case in semantics, pragmatics and syntax and can be the source of new insights in these areas. Formal descriptions of their meaning and use are difficult and controversial and seem to involve more dimensions than are usually taken into account in semantics and pragmatics. Historical linguistics and linguistic typology provide insightful data and may contribute significantly to the understanding of discourse particles.

From the perspective of computational linguistics, discourse particles are both a promise and a challenge. A promise because they seem to be functioning in communication between humans as devices that indicate discourse relations and other coherence relations in text and dialogue and so it would seem that their treatment would help natural language processing systems to get a better grasp on the intentions of the user and to achieve more natural and comprehensible output. A challenge, because their analysis seems to involve concepts that are beyond current levels of sophistication in either natural language processing or in natural language semantics.


    Aim and scope of the workshop

In succession to the workshop on the meaning and implementation of discourse particles at the ESSLLI Summer School in Vienna, a new workhop on will be held in Barcelona on 7-8 April 2005.

The workshop proposes to collect contributions to the theory and implementation of discourse particles and similar devices (tag questions, modal auxiliaries, etc.) with the aim of building a common understanding of the current possibilities and of contributing to better natural language processing and a deeper understanding of the nature of discourse particles and their function in indicating speech acts and discourse structure.

We seek papers that contribute to the semantic and pragmatic understanding of discourse particles, including historical and cross-linguistic aspects, as well as computational papers in which particles play a major role.

The workshop aims at connecting the informal understanding of particles with formal approaches to their meaning and use that have a potential for use in practical systems. A special topic of the workshop will be the use of particles for generating natural language in dialogue systems.


    Invited Speakers

Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam)
Enric Vallduví (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

    Programme Committee

Program Chair: Henk Zeevat (University of Amsterdam)

     Elena Karagjosova (University of Oslo)
     Enric Vallduví (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
     Estrella Montolío (Universitat de Barcelona)
     Hans-Christian Schmitz (University of Bonn)
     Kristina Striegnitz (University of Saarbrücken)
     Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam)
     Laura Alonso i Alemany (University of Barcelona)


Laura Alonso i Alemany (Universitat de Barcelona)
Henk Zeevat (University of Amsterdam)


Workshop on Discourse and Other Particles
Departament de Lingüística General
Facultat de Filologia
Universitat de Barcelona
E08007 Barcelona

    e-mail: lalonso at

motivation aim and scope people involved contact