MIC Sorbonne 2010 Interdisciplinary Conference

Paris-Sorbonne University, November, 18-19, 2010


   The Meta-Informative Centering Theory (MIC) is currently developed at CELTA (Centre de Linguistique Theorique et Appliquee). The conference is intended to continue discussion on crucial problems of the MIC theory, this time, in connection with the Centering Theory (a framework for modeling the local coherence of discourse), on the one hand, and the socio-cognitive approach (SCA) to pragmatics developed at State University of New York at Albany, on the other hand.

     The Associative Semantics (AS) theory and the Meta-Informative Centering (MIC) theory unify two sorts of problems: the Predicate Argument Structure (models of semantic relations as expressed by natural languages but with some confusion concerning the proper differentiation of semantic and syntactic domains) and the Information Structure (in fact, concerning the presentation or salience of informative contents as conveyed by linguistic utterances but leaving aside an important part of meta-informative devices of natural languages which are usually treated as belonging to the more or less formal syntax). Both theories are ontology-based language-dependent approaches. Hence, they can be used to identify similar informative and meta-informative contents which are conveyed by expressions of different languages in various morpho-syntactic and prosodic forms.

     In classical Centering Theory, among the three components of discourse structure (Linguistic Structure, Intentional Structure and Attentional State), (1) linguistic structure concerns the utterances as discourse segments, (2) intentional structure consists of purposes and the relations between them and (3) attentional state records the objects, properties, and relations that are salient in the discourse.

     In the Socio-Cognitive Approach (SCA) communication is the result of the Interplay of Intention and Attention, as this interplay is motivated by the individuals' private socio-cultural backgrounds. SCA integrates the pragmatic view of cooperation and the cognitive view of egocentrism and emphasizes that both cooperation and egocentrism are manifested in all phases of communication, albeit to varying extents. While cooperation is an intention-directed practice which may be measured by relevance, egocentrism is an attention-oriented trait which is measured by salience.

     The neighboring hypothesis is that both utterance structure and its context-sensitive pragmatic contents need development (composition, completion and elaboration) in order for the utterance to carry the appropriate message. While the semantic component of utterances builds knowledge out of information chunks, it is highly possible that the pragmatic contents rely on salience as guiding mechanism.

     You are invited to submit abstracts concerning the topics described above. Selected papers will be published in a book form.