Special Fall Course at AMPRA

ETAP 636 Fall, 2014 PRAGMATICS (3 credits)

Receive credits at UCLA or University at Albany!

This is a special course whose requirements can be fulfilled in two ways. Students who decide to take the class should choose one of the two paths described. There is a common block that is mandatory for all enrolled students.


1) Participate in the regular classes (Tuesdays, 4:15-7:05) on the following dates: 09/09; 09/16; 09/23; 09/30; 10/07; 10/14; 10/21; 10/28; 11/04; 11/11

The goal of these classes is as follows:

  • discuss the main tenets of pragmatics,
  • prepare you for the conference (those who go to UCLA)

  • prepare you to execute the research project (those who stay in Albany)

  • discuss the main issues raised at the conference,

  • help you select the topic of your paper.

Enrolled students participate at the 2nd International Conference of the American Pragmatics Association at the University of California, Los Angeles on October 17-19, 2014.

Students can apply for financial support from the TESOL Program ($500 per student). Scholarships will be awarded to those who participate in the conference. You are responsible for your own travel arrangements, accommodation and expenses. If you need scholarship, please email to ikecskes@albany.edu
Conference website:

2nd International Pragmatics Conference of the American Pragmatics Association at UCLA, October 17-19, 2014

The goal of the conference is to promote both theoretical and applied research in pragmatics, and bring together scholars who are interested in different subfields of pragmatics (philosophical, linguistic, cognitive, social, intercultural, interlanguage (L2 pragmatics), dialogue, pragmatic variation, politeness and impoliteness, discursive pragmatics, etc.). Three main topics of the conference are as follows:

  • Pragmatics theories: neo-Gricean approaches, relevance theory, theory of mind, meaning, role of context, grammaticalization, semantics-pragmatics interface, prosody-semantics interface, syntax-pragmatics interface, explicature, implicature, speech act theory, presuppositions, im/politeness, experimental pragmatics, pragma-dialogue, etc.
  • Intercultural, cross-cultural and societal aspects of pragmatics: research involving more than one language and culture or varieties of one language, lingua franca, pragmatics and society, technologically mediated communication, bilinguals’ and heritage speakers’ language use, intercultural misunderstandings, effect of dual language and multilingual systems on the development and use of pragmatic skills, language of aggression and conflict, etc.
  • Applications: usage and corpus-based approaches, interlanguage pragmatics, teachability and learnability of pragmatic skills, pragmatic variations within one language and across languages, developmental pragmatics, dialogue and pragmatics, etc.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

Kent Bach (San Francisco State University)

Agnes He (Stony Brook University)

Gregory Ward (Northwestern University)

Deirdre Wilson (University of London)

Requirements for PATH ONE:

1) Participate in the scientific activities at the conference (10/17-19)

  • be present at each of the four plenary lectures,

  • participate in one of the three parallel sessions that will be held on the topics described above,

2) Write a term paper based on a selected topic that is connected with one of the parallel sessions or plenary lectures


This path is for those students who will NOT travel to Los Angeles.

Requirements for PATH ONE:

1) Working on a research project: “Understanding implicatures in a second language”

In human communication we usually do not say what we mean and do not mean what we say which results in a difference between “what is said” and “what is actually communicated”.  This phenomenon means special difficulties for ESL/EFL learners because they do not have the necessary common ground, mutual knowledge and norms that implicatures build on in L1. The project will investigate the nature of these special difficulties, the strategies L2 learners try to avoid misunderstandings and the ways teaching can support the proper interpretation of implicatures. Within the project each student will receive a research question to investigate.

2) Write a term paper based on the individual project you will work on.

Deadline for paper submission: 13:00, December 14, 2014

Papers should be submitted electronically as an attachment to the following address: istvan.kecskes@gmail.com

The final examination paper is a professional paper following the guidelines of either APA or MLA style. The paper cannot be shorter than 12 double-spaced pages (plus references and tables if needed), and cannot be longer than 30 double-spaced pages (plus references and tables if needed).

Focus for conference participants: review of or discussion on the selected issue from your OWN perspective using conference materials, lectures (and your own research).

Focus for research project participants: presentation and discussion of the findings of your project.

Credits (3) received in this course can be used to fulfill one of the following requirements in the TESOL program: Linguistics; Language in use; or Elective

If you are interested in taking the class and have questions, please contact Prof. Kecskes at istvan.kecskes@gmail.com