I am a member of:
Formal Linguistics Group (GLiF), funded and recognized as a "Consolidated Research Group" (2021SGR-00947) by the Government of Catalonia: The members of GLiF work on the formal description of the architecture of human language and the interactions between different modules - phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics - based on data from a number of languages
- During 2013-2014, while on sabbatical from UPF, I was a visiting reseacher at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Projects I currently participate in:
- Experimental studies on discourse structure (EXPEDIS), P.I.: Laia Mayol. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación / Agencia Estatal de Investigación, PID2021-122779NB-I00 (2022-2026). Researchers: Enric Vallduví, Sara Amido, Sebastian Buchczyk, Xixian Liao. When humans communicate, we do so through discourses, which encompass both written texts and oral speeches, both monologues and dialogues (or multilogues). Yet the scientific study of language has traditionally focused at the sentence level (both from the syntactic and semantic point of view) and has paid less attention to this upper-level structure. However, in order to understand how we communicate and interpret meaning, it is crucial to understand how discourse is structured. The general goal of EXPEDIS is to gain a better understanding of discourse structure using experimental techniques. We will examine four different case studies concerning different phenomena at the semantics/pragmatics interface which can be informed from a better understanding of discourse structure and inform it as well. EXPEDIS will decidedly deploy experimental methodologies used in the field of experimental pragmatics, which is becoming fundamental to understand the underpinnings of language and its relationship to the human mind.
Projects I have lead:
- Correspondences between contextual resources and sentential information structure (Core-IS), P.I.: Vallduví, Enric. Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, FFI2015-67991-P (2016-2019). Researchers: Laia Mayol, Chenjie Yuan. It is generally agreed that sentential information structure (IS) concerns context-sensitive aspects of meaning, but there is less agreement on how exactly context is to be brought into an analysis of the semantics of IS notions such as theme and rheme, contrast and background, focus, and topic. Core-IS adopts the radical view that there exist direct correlations between particular sentential IS categories and specific contextual resources. The overall aim of the project is to investigate these correlations building on recent models of dialogical context which provide richly structured representations inhabited by a limited set of contextual resources —ranked questions-under-discussion, salient sub-utterances, moves (basic discourse units with intentional and context-update effects), etc.— motivated independently on the basis of an array of interactive phenomena in natural language. Core-IS intends to map particular aspects of the connection between dialogical context and IS involving (a) the theme-rheme partition and questions under discussion, (b) focus/contrast and salient sub-utterances, and (c) topic and constituents in the move list. Light will be shed into issues such as the nature of question-answer congruence and the ontological connections between the categories of focus and rheme and between contrastive topic and the more general notion of (continuous/shifted) topic. On a more general theoretical plane, the results of Core-IS will hopefully further endorse the view that the dynamics of context and the interactive nature of linguistic communication are of the essence in linguistic interpretation.
- Non-canonical constructions in oral discourse: Transversal and comparative study (NoCanDO), P.I.: Vallduví, Enric. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spanish Government, HUM2004-04463 (2004-2007). Researchers: Àlex Alsina, Stefan Bott, Lisa Brunetti, Joan Costa, Josep M. Fontana, Louise McNally, Estela Puig-Waldmüller, Teresa Suñol. The goal of NOCANDO was to establish a crosslinguistically taxonomy of noncanonical constructions (NOCANs). The languages studied and compared were Catalan, Spanish, Italian, English, and German. One result of the project was the NOCANDO Corpus, a is a corpus of spoken narrative text. It was created by recording free picture based narrations of native speakers in the languages mentioned above. The texts were transcribed, annotated and aligned, using the Praat software. More information about the project and the corpus can be found here.
A comparative study of connectors and discourse markers in a dynamic discourse semantics (DYCONNEX), P.I.: Vallduví, Enric.Departament d'Universitats, Recerca i Societat de la Informació, Catalan Government, PICS 2005-6 (2005-2007). Researchers: Gemma Andújar, Montserrat Cunillera, Josep M. Fontana, Montserrat González, Joelle Rey, Mercè Tricás.
In 2001 I was the recipient of one of Distinguished Awards for the Promotion of University Research, given by the Government of Catalonia. The award came with a 120000€ grant for a four-year period. Issue 9 of UPF's Notícies de Recerca published the news and included a brief interview.
Other recent projects:
- The Question Under Discussion and its linguistic effects (QUDLE), P.I.: Laia Mayol. Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades / Agencia Estatal de Investigación, PGC2018-094029-A-I00 (2019-2022). Researchers: Enric Vallduví, Xixian Liao, Chenjie Yuan. An extended view in formal pragmatics is that discourse can be explained as a question-answering strategy. That is, any utterance in a discourse (be it a dialogue or a monologue) can be thought of addressing a Question Under Discussion (QUD). QUDs play a central role in explaining the dynamics of dialogue and the rhetorical organization of discourse. This notion has also inspired important work in information structure, such as the work on contrastive topics or on focus particles. Apart from information structure, other very fruitful areas of application of QUD models have been the so-called projective meanings and studies on rhetorical relations. The general goal of the QUDLE project is to gain a better understanding of the notion of QUD and its effects in relation a range of different phenomena (information structure, anaphora, conditionals, connectives, discourse markers, among others)
- The syntax and information structure of unbounded dependencies (SISUD), P.I.: Alsina, Àlex. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spanish Government, FFI2011-23046 (2012-2015). Researchers: Laia Mayol, Enric Vallduví; Ash Asudeh, Mary Dalrymple, Yehuda Falk (†)
SISUD aims to achieve a better understanding of unbounded dependency constructions (UDCs), which include filler-gap constructions, as well as resumptive pronoun constructions, from the point of view of their syntax and their information structure, and to provide integrated analyses of the syntax and information structure of UDCs. Despite the fact that the study of UDCs has been central to generative linguistics, since its inception, many issues in the syntax and information structure of these constructions are still inadequately resolved. SISUD aims to (A) make a contribution to the debate about these issues, (B) provide evidence to choose among competing analyses, and (C) provide new analyses to better explain the relevant facts.
Epistemic modality, evidentiality and grammaticality: Inter- and intralinguistic contrastive analysis in oral and written discourse (MODEVIG). P.I.: González, Montserrat. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spanish Government. FFI2011-25755 (2012-2015). Researchers: Clara Lorda, Elisabeth Miche, Aina Torrent, Enric Vallduví, Julia Williams.
The main goal of the MODEVIG project is to analyze and describe the pragmatic, semantic and grammatical traits of lexical markers and idiomatic expressions with epistemic and evidential values in a variety of discourse genres. The analysis of data will be contrastive (inter and intralinguistic) in five languages: Spanish, Catalan, English, German and French. Processes of grammaticalization will be also considered. The aim of the project is to observe the behaviour and the formal and functional differences and similarities of such linguistic units in the process of elaboration and interpretation of a discourse in a given genre. In order to do so, both formal/structural aspects (morphology, syntax) and functional aspects (semantics, pragmatics) will be taken into account