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Creativity in Meaning (DGfS 2023 workshop)

Organized by Oliver Bott, Anna Kutscher & Torgrim Solstad

Important dates and location

Workshop dates: March 8-10, 2023

Location: Universität zu Köln


The preliminary programme

Mittwoch / Wednesday, 08.03.2023


Short welcome and opening (5 Min.)

Bart Geurts (Nijmegen) ---- Invited speaker
Normative pragmatics and the social world


Eva Ogiermann (London)
Stay safe! – A wish, advice, or an order? Pragmatic creativity in times of a pandemic.


Ralf Vogel (Bielefeld)
Indirect speech acts, verum focus and conventionality




Arndt Riester (Bielefeld)
Implicit discourse structure and meaning in indirect replies to questions in political interviews


Janet Davey (Canberra)
Creative chengyu: How semantic compositionality and structural productivity facilitate idiom wordplay in Chinese


Chaoyi Chen (Rutgers)
The concessive reading of scalar particles: a presupposition-weakening approach

Donnerstag / Thursday, 09.03.2023


Dietmar Zaefferer (Munich)
Creativity in neology and the survival of the fittest


Alexandra Anna Spalek (Oslo) and Louise McNally (Barcelona)
Figurative verb polysemy is driven differentially by grammar and conceptual content: Evidence from cross-linguistic data




Ellise Moon, Kai Schenk, & Scott Grimm (Rochester)
Creativity in nominal mass-count coercions


Birgit Kohn (Osnabrück)
Entrenchment and productivity predicting potential for creativity: a corpus-based approach on creative adjective intensifiers


Camilo Rodriguez Ronderos (Oslo), Emma Mathisen (Oslo), Ira Noveck (Paris), & Ingrid Lossius Falkum (Oslo)
When children are more pragmatic than adults: Norwegian children’s comprehension of contextualized absolute adjectives




Anouk Van den Stock, Anne-Sophie Ghyselen, & Timothy Colleman (Ghent)
Linguistic and extralinguistic determinants in attitudes towards grammatical creativity/productivity


Sina Zarrieß and Hendrik Buschmeier (Bielefeld)
Exploring language use in reference games with concepts from computational creativity

Freitag / Friday, 10.03.2023




Phillip Wadey, Thora Tenbrink, & Alan Wallington (Bangor)

Vehicle-based inferences in metaphor interpretation: a CODA approach


Katarina Rasulić (Belgrade)
No champagne for sham friends: Semantic creativity through form-meaning re-pairing


Matthias Schrumpf, Oliver Bott, & Torgrim Solstad (Bielefeld)
Implicit Causality guides coherence and reference production – Even more so in creative language


Summary and Discussion


Organizers: Oliver Bott, Anna Kutscher, Torgrim Solstad


Call for Papers

Speakers aim to produce utterances that optimally convey their intended meanings. For this purpose, they normally resort to the conventionally shared inventory of expressions and productively compose them into more complex expressions. However, in many circumstances ordinary productivity is not sufficient, causing speakers and listeners cooperatively to move beyond the resources of their mental dictionaries and compositional constraints by creating new ad hoc meanings and interpretations well beyond literal meaning.

Linguistic creativity augments conventional interpretation and expands meaning beyond conventionally interpretative limits imposed by the linguistic system at basically all linguistic levels, be it intentionally or unconsciously. The range of relevant phenomena can be anchored on different levels and elements of an expression to frame and sharpen the meaning in a certain context as in metonymic shifts (the hepatitis called), indirect speech acts (Hasn’t the mail arrived by now? intended as a request for someone to get the mail) or contextually occurring sortal shifts (Suzie finished the cigarette for finishing the painting of a cigarette, as discussed by Asher 2011).

The workshop aims at combining insights from linguistics and cognitive psychology into the above-mentioned phenomena as well as to other related fields such as metaphors, idioms, word plays, open texture, and irony.

We invite submissions for presentations (20 minutes talk + 10 minutes discussion) of theoretical and/or empirical contributions investigating creative meaning enrichments in a wide range of linguistic phenomena with a focus on the following questions:

  • In how far does creative meaning emerge from (i) contextual influences, (ii) mechanisms of compositionality, or (iii) alterations of established elements of compositional meaning, such as lexical semantics?
  • To what extent is creativity anchored in the language system and to what extent does it operate extra-systemically?
  • What are the limits of creativity in interpretation?
  • And when do highly particularized and contextually determined meaning alterations result in the preservation within the language system?

Invited speaker(s)


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