Formal, Probabilistic and Typological Approaches to Discourse Particles and Modal Adverbs

Henk Zeevat, Lotte Hogeweg, and Geertje van Bergen


Discourse particles and modal adverbs form a borderline case between semantics and pragmatics and so can be the source of new insights in these areas. The use of particles has been connected with discourse relations and other coherence relations, the relation between semantic content and discourse context, especially the mutual knowledge and the common discourse goals of the discourse participants, with expression of speaker beliefs, desires and intentions and with the control of interpretations that go beyond semantic content, i.e. explicatures and implicatures. And, last but not least, particles and modal adverbs can contribute to expressive and other non-truth-conditional aspects of meaning.

The workshop is the 5th in a series on formal approaches to particles and part of the ESSLLI summer school in Bolzano, taking place from 21 to 26 August 2016. The first of these took place in 2003 at a time where it was still an adventurous idea to apply formal methods to the elusive meanings of particles. The workshops however contributed to the serious progress that has been made in the area.



Day Time Authors and Title
Mo (22-8) 17.00 – 17.30 Geertje van Bergen, Lotte Hogeweg & Henk Zeevat: Introduction
17.30 – 18.00 Yael Greenberg: Interaction of a discourse particle with a metalinguistic operator: The case of x but X
18.00 – 18.30 Adriana Osa-Gomez: Discourse particles and asymmetries in knowledge: the case of two Spanish discourse markers
Tue (23-8) 17.00 – 17.30 Mira Grubic: Additive particles, parallelity and distinctness
17.30 – 18.00 Katja Jasinskaja & Barbara Tomaszewicz: Dissociating the scalarity and additivity of EVEN – the case of ‘čak’ and ‘čak i’ in BCS
18.00 – 18.30 Yael Greenberg & Dina Orenstein: Typologies for even-like and for only-like particles: Evidence from Modern Hebrew
Wed (24-8) 17.00 – 18.00 Lisa Matthewson: Towards a Landscape of Discourse Particles
18.00 – 18.30 Moria Ronen, Yael Greenberg & Galit Sassoon: A study of the Hebrew hedger ‘Begadol’ in exceptive sentences
Thu (25-8) 17.00 – 17.30 Sophia Malamud &  Allyson Ettinger: Utterance modifiers ‘ba’ and reverse‐polarity tags in the conversational scoreboard
17.30 – 18.00 Junwen Lee: A modal analysis of the Colloquial Singapore English particle ‘lah’
18.00 – 18.30 Upsorn Tawilapakul: Discourse Particles of Thai and Their Prominent Features
Fri (26-8) 17.00 – 17.30 Sonja Thoma: A systematic approach to DPRT function in Miesbach Bavarian
17.30 – 18.00 Anne Bertrand, Johannes Heim, Sonja Thoma & Martina Wiltschko: Let’s all be systematic (about confirmationals), eh?\
18.00 – 18.30 Eva Csipak & Sarah Zobel: Discourse particles as a window into the conditional-interrogative link


Invited Speaker

Lisa Matthewson


Henk Zeevat (chair)
Lotte Hogeweg
Geertje van Bergen

Programme Committee

Geertje van Bergen
Liz Coppock
Lisa Matthewson
Henk Zeevat
Lotte Hogeweg (chair)Hans-Christian Schmitz
Elena Karagjosova
Andrej Malchukov
Barbara Tomasciewicz
Katja Jasinskaja
Sebastian Loebner
Regine Eckhardt



Organisational questions pertaining to the workshop can be asked to Henk Zeevat (, questions about the programme to Lotte Hogeweg ( and practical ones to the ESSLLI organisation (