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International Conference on Language and Communication as part of the Research Network on Referential Expressions in Discourse (RED) und dem Caravan Projekt Mutual Understanding

18-19 March 2024,

University of Tokyo (Komaba-Campus)
Bldg. 18, 4th Floor  
Tokyo, JAPAN


Referential expressions introduce, activate, and maintain the objects of our communicative actions. Referential structure itself is formed by the intricate interaction of referential information and conceptual information (Gernsbacher 1991; Brocher & von Heusinger 2018). Research has focused on the felicitous conditions of referential expressions (Ariel 1988) and the interaction of speaker-oriented planning and hearer expectation (Kehler et al. 2008, Bott & Solstad 2021), as well as on their interaction with prominence (von Heusinger and Schumacher 2019). Recent approaches also include the forward-looking function (or discourse structuring potential) of referential expressions (Chiriacescu & von Heusinger 2010), the role of quantifiers in the licensing of anaphoric expressions (Schmitt et al. 2017) and the role of questions of specification in the marking and interpretation of referential expressions (Onea 2021). Important advances have been also achieved in stochastic modeling of reference including redundancy effects (Degen et al. 2021) and extending current theories to Sign Languages (Schlenker 2018). While significant progress has been made in recent years, an overall integrative theory of reference in discourse and the dynamics of referential expressions in communication is still missing.

We invite researchers in semantics, pragmatics, philosophy, and communication science to submit their original research, focusing on the contribution of referential expressions and discourse structure to establishing particular communicative effects and goals in discourse.


Keynote Speakers

  • Chiara Gianollo, Bologna
  • Jet Hoek, Nijmegen
  • Sofiana Lindemann, Brasov
  • Edgar Onea. Graz
  • Jesse Harris, Los Angeles


Important Dates

Deadline for submissions: December 11, 2023

Notification of authors: December 20, 2024

Workshop: 18-19 March 2024



Registration is required for all participants. Because of space limitations, those who would like to participate are kindly asked to contact the organization team.



Monday, March 18, 2024

9:30-10:30 Invited Lecture
Jesse Harris (Los Angeles)
Something else on something else
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-11:45 Hanjung Lee (Seoul)
Communicative Efficiency, Grounding and Crosslinguistic Patterns of Differential Subject Marking
11:45-12:30 Ivona Kucerova & Aya Zarka (Hamilton)
On the Interaction of Differential Object Marking and non-default Discourse Commitments
12:30-14:30 Lunch Break
14:30-15:30 Invited Lecture
Chiara Gianollo (Bologna)
Cross-linguistic variation in the anaphoric functions of ‘other’
15:30-16:15 Katsumasa Ito (Osaka)
On topic drop in German: A dual ellipsis approach
16:15-17:00 Yoshiki Mori (Tokyo) & Yuto Yamazaki (Mie)
QuD effects of word order variations in German cleft sentences
17:00-17:30 Short break
17:30-18:30 Invited Lecture (online)
Jet Hoek (Nijmegen)
The effect of meaning-related cues on the interpretation of Dutch pronominal forms

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

9:30-10:30 Invited Lecture 
Sofiana Lindemann (Brasov)
Implicit casuality biases of Romanian psychological state verbs
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-11:45 Lecture 5
Kristina Liefke & Markus Werning (Bochum
Towards a Theory of Reference in Parasitic Attitudes
11:45-12:30 Lecture 6
Peter Hofmann
I is another? On marking the boundaries of free indirect discourse
12:30-14:30 Lunch Break
14:30-15:15 Lecture 7
Nori Hayashi 
What the additive construction suggests about indefinites and information structure
15:15-16:15 Invited Lecture 5
Edgar Onea (University of Graz)
A new perspective on topical indefinites




The workshop is organized by Klaus von Heusinger (University of Cologne) and Yoshiki Mori (University of Tokyo).



We invite submissions for 30 min presentations (plus 15 min for discussion) in English. Abstracts should be anonymous and not longer than two pages (Times New Roman 12 pt., single space, 2,4 cm margins). They should be submitted in pdf format to RED24-groupSpamProtectiong.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp.


Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Referential expressions and discourse structure
  • Pragmatic aspects of reference in conversation
  • Cross-linguistic variations in referential communication
  • Referential ambiguity and resolution
  • Cognitive processes involved in reference comprehension
  • Linguistic markers of reference in written and spoken discourse
  • Referential structure in signed or non-verbal communication



Ariel, Mira. 1988. Referring and accessibility. Journal of Linguistics 24(1). 65 – 87. doi: https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/4175921.

Bott, Oliver and Solstad, Torgrim. "Discourse expectations: explaining the implicit causality biases of verbs" Linguistics, vol. 59, no. 2, 2021, pp. 361-416. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2021-0007

Brocher, Andreas & Klaus von Heusinger. 2018. A dual-process activation model: Processing definiteness and information status. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 3(1). 108. 1–34. doi: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.457.

Chiriacescu, Sofiana & Klaus von Heusinger. 2010. Discourse prominence and pe-marking in Romanian. International Review of Pragmatics 2(2). 298–332. doi:https://doi.org/10.1163/187731010X528377.

Degen J, Hawkins RXD, Graf C, Kreiss E, Goodman ND. 2020. When redundancy is useful: a Bayesian approach to ‘overinformative' referring expressions. Psychol. Rev. 127(4):591–621

Gernsbacher, Morton A. 1991. Comprehending conceptual anaphors. Language and Cognitive Processes 6. 81–105.

von Heusinger, Klaus & Petra B. Schumacher. 2019. Discourse prominence: Definition and application. Journal of Pragmatics 154. 117–127. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2019.07.025.

Kehler, Andrew, Laura Kertz, Hannah Rohde & Jeffrey L. Elman. 2008. Coherence and coreference revisited. Journal of Semantics 25(1). 1–44. doi:10.1093/jos/ffm018.

Onea, Edgar (2021): Specificity and Questions of Specification. In C. Gianollo, K. von Heusinger and M. Napoli (eds.): Determiners and Quantifiers. Leiden. Brill. 130-185. doi: 10.1163/9789004473324_006

Schlenker, P., (2018) “Locative Shift”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 3(1): 115. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.561

Schmitt, Viola; Onea Gaspar, Edgar; Buch, Friederike (2017): Restrictions on complement anaphora. In D. Burgdorf, J. Collard, S. Maspong and B. Stefánsdóttir (eds.): Proceedings of SALT 27. 212-229. doi: 10.3765/salt.v27i0.4146