Perspectives on Discourse, Grammar, and Transitivity

International Workshop

Vigo, November 15, 2013


In the context of corpus linguistics and usage-based grammar, we are proposing a one-day workshop on the relations between grammar and discourse. The main goal of this workshop is to explore the relevance of grammatical patterns, with a focus on argument structure and transitivity, for discourse analysis and interpretations and, vice versa, to explore the relevance of discourse and corpus data for the analysis and interpretation of grammatical patterns.

Functional or usage-based approaches in linguistics look at grammar as the result of the creative and dynamic usage of speakers. In this view, it is necessary to refer to the interaction of discourse and grammar, and to interpret the coding of the most relevant event participants as the routinization of strategies for highlighting a selected perspective. Grammatical patterns are used in discourse to represent events and participants in those events, and at the same time are used to provide a subjective point of view by the speaker or writer.

On the other hand, current corpus linguistic research provides the instruments to evaluate phenomena around argument structure with a more comprehensive and fine-grained vision, not only through the incorporation of frequency analysis, but also thanks to the possibility of studying face-to-face ways of communication, as it is the case with spontaneous conversation, and face-to-face languages, as it is the case with signed languages. Usage data of spoken and signed languages are providing new perspectives on the study of cross-linguistic variation.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Quantitative and qualitative analyses of transitivity, participant roles and referential expressions in discourse
  • Interplay of (grammatical) form and (discourse) function
  • Interplay of frequency of usage and grammatical structure,
  • Typological/cross-linguistic variation of transitivity-related coding patterns and its relation with usage
  • Transitivity and contextual variation
  • The impact of point of view and subjectivity in the grammatical coding of events
  • The use of corpora for recognizing subjectivity and point of view.
  • Specific issues posed by signed languages on the study of transitivity
  • Corpus annotation of transitivity features
  • Integration of discourse factors in functional/usage-based models of grammar (Systemic Functional Linguistics, Construction Grammar and others)

Invited Speakers

  • Lise Fontaine (Cardiff University)
  • Martin Haspelmath (MPI-EVA, Leipzig)
  • Lorraine Leeson (Trinity College, Dublin / Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Jan Ola stman (University of Helsinki)
  • Joanne Scheibmann (Old Dominion University, Norfolk)
  • Victoria Vzquez-Rozas (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)

Registration fees

Registration for the workshop is free, subject to room availability.

Call for Posters

Oral presentations are limited to invited speakers, but the program will include a poster session, open to submissions.

The poster session is thought as an opportunity for PhD students and other young researchers to present ongoing research projects, late-breaking results, and work in progress. We invite submissions exclusively limited to the particular topics of the workshop. They must include the title of the poster together with an abstract or poster description (maximum 500 words).

  • Submission procedure: Send an e-mail to including the title of the poster, and an abstract or poster description (maximum 500 words)
  • Deadlline: October 15, 2013
  • Notification of acceptance: October 22, 2013

Decisions about acceptance will be based on relevance to the topics of the workshop. l


  • Jos M Garca-Miguel (Universidade de Vigo)
  • M del Carmen Cabeza (Universidade de Vigo)