AG 10: Perspective-taking


Pragmatic theories assign an important role to speakers and their intentions and beliefs. The perspective conveyed by a particular utterance impacts the interpretation of speaker meaning and it may even change the truth-­values of an utterance (cf. Travis 1997). Theory of mind, which accounts for the ability to attribute mental states to oneself or others, and the notion of common ground think of perspective in a less restricted way. In language processing, the ability of shared mental states has been investigated with adults, children and in language disorders like Asperger Syndrome. These studies provide a first indication of the impact of perspective. Additionally, there are subtle variations in perspective in different pronominal forms. In this regard, typological research reveals intriguing effects of perspective. The workshop will focus on the phenomenon of perspective-­taking both from a processing and a theoretical view and address the following questions:

  • Which aspects of perspective-­taking are important for the interlocutors to succeed in daily communication?
  • Which linguistic or general cognitive abilities are required to compute perspectival aspects during language processing?
  • Are there default strategies that are adopted during processing (cf. e.g., Keysar et al. 2000 on the priority of egocentric perspective under certain conditions)?
  • Is perspective-­taking a marginal pragmatic phenomenon or a key part of human communication?
  • How is perspective expressed linguistically (e.g., demonstratives or logophors may convey specific perspective cues)?
  • Which distinctions are available (e.g., self-­/hearer-­/other-­directed speech; self/source/pivot)?
  • How should perspective be represented (i.e. as unarticulated constituents of the sentence or as common ground)?

We are interested in contributions from researchers who work on perspective-­taking from a theoretical or empirical stance.


  • Keysar, B., Barr, D. J., Balin, J. A., & Brauner, J. S. 2000. Psychological Science, 11(1). 32-­38.
  • Travis, C. 1997. Pragmatics. In B. Hale & C. Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language, 87-­106. Oxford: Blackwell.


  14:00 Stefan Hinterwimmer, Hanna Weiland & Petra Schumacher (University of Cologne)  
    Perspective taking: an introduction  
  14:30 Regine Eckardt (Göttingen)  
    Speakers and utterances: an event-based analysis of indirect speech  
  15:00 Corien Bary (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)  
    Perspective shifts in person and time  
  15:30 Susanna Salem, Thomas Weskott & Anke Holler (Göttingen)  
    Does narrative perspective influence the spatial point of view in readers’ mental representation of a text? A psycholinguistic study on free indirect discourse  
  16:00 Break  
  16:30 Barbara Dancygier (UBC Vancouver)  
    Viewpoint phenomena in constructions and discourse  
  17:30 Johannes Gerwien, Abbassia Bouhaous & Christiane von Stutterheim (Heidelberg)  
    Typological differences in spatial and aspectual perspective taking in descriptions of dynamic scenes  
  18:00 Sonja Zeman (LMU Munich)  
    Confronting perspectives: modelling perspectival complexity in language and cognition  
  9:00 Dale Barr (Glasgow)  
    Perspective taking and its impostors  
  10:00 Jessica Wang, Steven Frisson & Ian Apperly (Birmingham)  
    Cognitive load affects theory of mind-use in the director task  
  10:30 Kristen Secora1,2, Karen Emmorey1, Jennie Pyers3 & Pamela Perniss4 (1San Diego State University, USA; 2University of California San Diego, USA; 3Wellesley College, USA; 4University College London, UK)  
    Perspective taking in manually-produced spatial descriptions and the role of inhibitory control  
  11:00 Break  
  11:30 Mindaugas Mozuraitis, Craig G. Chambers & Meredyth Daneman (Toronto)  
    Coordinating privileged knowledge about object identity in real-time referential processing  
  12:00 John Michael Tomlinson & Camilo Rodríguez Ronderos (ZAS Berlin)  
    Perspective-taking and inference: do speakers alter partial answers as a function of their epistemic states?  
  12:30 Alessia Tosi, Holly Branigan & Martin Pickering (Edinburgh)  
    The role of agency, visual awareness and experiential context on visuo-spatial perspective taking  
  11:30 Lu Zhang, Jan Ries, Barbara Höhle & Isabell Wartenburger (Potsdam)  
    Perspective taking and common ground effects on reference resolution  
  12:00 Dagmar Bittner (ZAS Berlin)  
    Emergence of linguistic means of perspectivization in German children’s picture book stories  
  12:30 Ditte Boeg Thomsen (Copenhagen)  
    One syllable, two perspectives: Children’s acquisition of inconspicuous viewpoint constructions  
  13:00 Franziska Köder (Groningen)  
    The attraction of self-ascription in children’s interpretation of quoted second-person pronouns  
  13:30 Daniel Hole (Stuttgart)  
    Logophoricity and complement pronominalization with German relational nouns  

Deviation from the original schedule

The talk by Kaiser was cancelled.