Research mission

The research agenda of Grammar and Pragmatics (GaP) is in full agreement with the general interest for 'Language in Use' that characterizes the research done within the department of Linguistics at the University of Antwerp. GaP unites researchers who share an interest for the study of (linguistic) MEANING in all its forms. Starting point of the research conducted within GaP is the assumption that grammatical knowledge (and linguistic knowledge in general) is built up through experience, through contact with actual language use and exposure to interaction. Therefore, language can only be studied from a USAGE-BASED PERSPECTIVE, which is reflected in the importance that is ascribed to the study of situated language use in specific contexts, by means of corpus analysis and ethnographic research. The more grammar-oriented GaP-research has an outspoken functional-cognitive orientation and focuses on uses of verbal and nominal (morpho)syntactic constructions like passive and focus constructions, modal, evidential and mirative constructions, tense, aspect and insubordination. Processes of grammaticalization and constructionalization are studied on the basis of present-day and historical corpora. The functional-cognitive orientation further implies that cognitive mechanisms (e.g. schematizing, priming, analogical relations) are considered to be important explanatory factors. Moreover, it is assumed that grammar (and language in general) is crucially imbedded in the communicative function of language, i.e. language is the product of communication between people. The more pragmatics-oriented Gap research studies intercultural and international communication, language and ideology, language and institutions and discursive practices in multilingual environments. Theory building within the broadly conceived field of linguistic pragmatics is also aimed at in order to provide a consistent framework integrating the different perspectives from which linguistic knowledge and language use can be approached. Interdisciplinarity is key in this respect.