Workshops on Referential Expressions in Discourse

Referential expressions like definite and indefinite noun phrases, demonstratives, indexicals and proper names exhibit varying degree of context dependence in the computation of their semantic import to the truth conditions of the utterances they occur in. At the same time, their interpretation not only depends on the linguistic and extra-linguistic context, but they also impact the representation of context. Indefinites, for instance, have been analyzed as introducing new discourse referents, whereas definites quite often have an anaphoric interpretation picking up discourse referents introduced by indefinites. At the same time, indefinites can also have discourse linked readings, and they can impose further constraints on the prospective development of the upcoming discourse. Likewise, definites can also be used to introduce discourse new entities either by virtue of uniqueness or presupposition accommodation. Recent research has made more and more clear that there are complex and not yet fully understood phenomena involved in the interpretation of referential expressions in general. The Workshops on Referential Expressions in Discourse (RED) are exploring the different semantic and pragmatic effects of referential expressions, models of discourse structure and different methods to address these questions.