After succesfully completing this course, students|
* have an overview of the field of discourse studies and discourse processing, as well as of the leading questions in the field;
* can formulate specific research questions and operationalizations of research that contribute to the field
* are able to present these issues in an understandable and challenging way;
* are able to relate research on language use and discourse representation to issues of optimal communication.
Language users communicate through discourse. The constituting property of discourse is that it shows connectedness. This connectedness is a cognitive phenomenon: Language users make a coherent representation of the discourse under consideration. The discourse itself contains (more or less) overt signals that direct this interpretation process.|
Discourse coherence manifests itself in referential coherence (anaphora, pronouns, discourse topics) and in coherence relations, such as Cause-Consequence and Contrast. These relations are conceptual and they can be made explicit by linguistic markers, so-called connectives (because, so, however) and lexical cue phrases (The result is, In conclusion).
First, we discuss how language users process and represent discourse structures. In addition, we investigate how cognitive categories, such as causality and subjectivity, influence how we process and mark coherence relations. We will do so by examining studies using a variety of methods, such as corpus research and eye-tracking experiments. The course will also discuss how various languages express coherence and how children acquire these linguistic markers. Finally, we discuss the implications for communication: how can we design texts that are comprehensible for the target audience? And how do new media influence how we process and represent text?
Priority rules apply to this course. Make sure you register for this course before 15 November 12:00h (noon) 2021 to be considered for enrolment.