We are happy to announce a talk by Sebastian Walter (Wuppertal) in the Semantics Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.

Title: Visual and non-visual means of perspective taking in language

Date: February 9

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


In this talk, the research agenda of the ViCom-project „Visual and non-visual means of perspective taking in language“ will be presented. Perspective plays a crucial role in the interpretation of many utterances in everyday conversation. Usually, the perspective of the speaker is expressed, but there are cases where the perspective is shifted away from the speaker to some other salient individual. A prime example for this are instances of free indirect discourse (Schlenker, 2002; Maier, 2015). The expression of perspective is not limited to spoken and written language. It can also be expressed in speech-accompanying gestures (McNeill, 1992). There is only very little research on the interactions of perspective taking in gesture and speech, however (but see Hinterwimmer et al., 2021 and Ebert & Hinterwimmer, 2022 for two pioneering studies on that matter). The project outlined in this talk aims at investigating these interactions. Its main aim is to provide a formal semantic account based on the results of several experimental studies which will be conducted throughout the course of this project. The project comprises three research dimensions, each of which will be addressed separately during the talk: i) viewpoint gestures and viewpoint expression in spoken language, ii) viewpoint gestures and perspective attribution to individuals, and iii) viewpoint gestures and information status. Since only the plans for the experimental studies will be presented in this talk, feedback on the design of the studies is highly appreciated.