Special Issue "Pragmatics and Argumentation"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Steve Oswald
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of English, University of Fribourg, Av. De l’Europe 20, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Interests: pragmatics; argumentation theory; discourse analysis; cognitive science; deception; fallacies; commitment.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to submit an abstract for a special issue of Languages, titled “Pragmatics and Argumentation”. This special issue is meant to (i) take stock of more than four decades of research at the interface of pragmatics and argumentation scholarship, (ii) reflect the current vigour of this research interface, and (iii) provide an overview of the different directions of investigation that have been explored (and continue to be explored) at this interface.

The connexion between pragmatic studies and argumentation studies is a strikingly natural one, given the proximity between their respective objects of inquiry and the way argumentation theory has steadily incorporated pragmatic models in many of its ramifications. Such proximity can for instance be witnessed in important theoretical endeavours such as in the pragma-dialectical full integration of speech act theory in its conception of argumentation as a speech act complex (see Snoeck Henkemans, 2014; van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1984, 2004) and partial integration of Grice’s cooperative principle as a normative standard for the resolution of differences of opinion (van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1988), or in the theoretical discussions highlighting the affinities between Grice’s (1989) notions of speaker meaning, implicature (see e.g. Kauffeld, 2001; Macagno & Walton, 2013; Moldovan, 2012) and principles of argumentative rationality (e.g., Jacobs, 2015; Sbisà, 2006), as well as in work on the pragmatic notion of commitment, as it relates to the management of disagreement in dialectical exchanges (Lewiński, 2011; Lewiński & Aakhus, 2014; Oswald & Lewiński, 2014; Walton & Krabbe, 1995). This proximity equally permeates methodological contributions to the issue of the reconstruction of argumentative discourse for evaluative purposes (see e.g. Becker, 2012; Gerritsen, 2001; Oswald, 2016) and current reflexions on the relationship between pragmatic and argumentative inference (Oswald, 2018; Oswald et al., 2020; Rigotti & Greco, 2019; Rocci, 2006). Moreover, a ‘linguistic turn’, many times driven by a semantic and pragmatic impulse, has steadily gained momentum in argumentation theory over the past decades, from early work by French scholars (Anscombre & Ducrot, 1983; Ducrot, 1980; Ducrot et al., 1980) on the inherently argumentative nature of meaning, to work on argumentative indicators (van Eemeren et al., 2007) and on specific linguistic structures and affordances that are argumentatively exploited by arguers (see e.g., Boogaart et al., 2021; Herman et al., 2018; Hinton, 2019; Oswald et al., 2018, 2020; Pollaroli et al., 2019). In recent years, some conversational approaches (e.g., Luginbühl & Kreuz, 2020; Mundwiler & Kreuz, 2018), philosophical approaches (Bermejo Luque 2011, Sbisà, 2018; Witek & Witczak-Plisiecka, 2019) and experimental approaches (Ozols et al., under revision, 2016; Schumann et al., accepted, 2019) to argumentation have all drawn on various strands of pragmatic research to address argumentative issues, thereby contributing to expand the already growing investigation of the pragmatics/argumentation interface.

We take all these to be clear indications of the mutual cross-fertilisation at play between the two disciplines, and at the same time as an indication that the time is right to take stock of these advances in order to provide a snapshot of what pragmatics has offered to argumentation, and vice-versa. While many international initiatives and research projects instantiate this interface in one way or another, a thorough collection of studies which frontally tackles it still missing. The projected special issue is meant to fill this gap.

We therefore invite abstracts for contributions which address one or more dimensions of the pragmatics/argumentation interface, across the board of approaches in pragmatics and in argumentation theory. Contributions of a theoretical, methodological, empirical, and experimental nature are welcome, and may deal with the following (non-exhaustive) list of topics:

  • meaning and argumentation
  • historical connexions between pragmatics and argumentation
  • (pragmatic and/or argumentative) inference
  • speech acts and argumentation
  • illocutionary and perlocutionary acts in argumentation
  • linguistic markers of argumentation
  • conversational aspects of argumentative practices
  • identity, face and argumentation
  • pragmatic constraints on the persuasiveness of argumentation
  • language, ethos and pathos
  • rhetorical advantages of pragmatic meaning

Important: As a general criterion for inclusion in the special issue, contributions which explicitly identify the pragmatic approach they draw on in discussing the modalities under which it can be fruitfully interfaced with argumentation theory will be privileged.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editor ([email protected]) or to Languages editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the special issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Tentative completion schedule:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 April 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 May 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: 1 December 2021


Anscombre, J. C., & Ducrot, O. (1983). L’argumentation dans la langue. Editions Mardaga.

Becker, T. (2012). The Pragmatics of Argumentation. In A. C. Schalley (Ed.), Practical Theories and Empirical practice: A Linguistic Perspective (pp. 257–272). John Benjamins.

Bermejo Luque, L. (2011). Giving reasons: A linguistic-pragmatic approach to argumentation theory (Vol. 20). Dordrecht: Springer.

Boogaart, R., Jansen, H., & van Leeuwen, M. (Eds.). (2021). The Language of Argumentation. Springer.

Ducrot, O. (1980). Les échelles argumentatives. Minuit.

Ducrot, O., Bourcier, D., & Bruxelles, S. (1980). Les mots du discours. Ed. de Minuit.

Gerritsen, S. (2001). Unexpressed premises. In F. van Eemeren (Ed.), Crucial concepts in argumentation theory (pp. 51–79). Sic Sat.

Grice, P. (1989). Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard University Press.

Herman, T., Jacquin, J., & Oswald, S. (Eds.). (2018). Les mots de l’argumentation. Peter Lang. https://doi.org/10.3726/b14941

Hinton, M. (2019). Language and argument: A review of the field. Research in Language, 17(1), 93–103.

Jacobs, S. (2015). Les principes pragmatiques de communication dans l’argumentation. Argumentation et Analyse Du Discours, 15.

Kauffeld, F. J. (2001). Argumentation, discourse, and the rationality underlying Grice’s analysis of utterance-meaning. Cognition in Language Use: Selected Papers from the 7th International Pragmatics Conference, 1, 149–163.

Lewiński, M. (2011). Towards a critique-friendly approach to the straw man fallacy evaluation. Argumentation, 25(4), 469.

Lewiński, M., & Aakhus, M. (2014). Argumentative polylogues in a dialectical framework: A methodological inquiry. Argumentation, 28(2), 161–185.

Luginbühl, M., & Kreuz, J. (2020). From flat propositions to deep co-constructed and modalized argumentations: Oral argumentative skills among elementary school children from grades 2 to 6. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 4(1), 93–114.

Macagno, F., & Walton, D. (2013). Implicatures as Forms of Argument. In A. Capone, F. L. Piparo, & M. Carapezza (Eds.), Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy (pp. 203–225). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01011-3_9

Moldovan, A. (2012). Arguments, Implicatures and Argumentative Implicatures.

Mundwiler, V., & Kreuz, J. (2018). Collaborative decision-making in argumentative group discussions among primary school children. In Argumentation and language—Linguistic, cognitive and discursive explorations (pp. 263–285). Springer.

Oswald, S. (2016). Commitment Attribution and the Reconstruction of Arguments. In F. Paglieri, L. Bonelli, & S. Felletti (Eds.), The Psychology of Argument. Cognitive Approaches to Argumentation and Persuasion (Vol. 59, pp. 17–32). College Publications.

Oswald, S. (2018). Pragmatic inference and argumentative inference. In S. Oswald & D. Maillat (Eds.), Argumentation and Inference: Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Argumentation, Fribourg 2017 (Vol. 2, pp. 615–629). College Publications.

Oswald, S., Greco, S., Pollaroli, C., Miecznikowski, J., & Rocci, A. (Eds.). (2020). Argumentation and meaning: Semantic and pragmatic reflexions. John Benjamins.

Oswald, S., Herman, T., & Jacquin, J. (Eds.). (2018). Argumentation and Language—Linguistic, Cognitive and Discursive Explorations. Springer International Publishing.

Oswald, S., & Lewiński, M. (2014). Pragmatics, cognitive heuristics and the straw man fallacy. In T. Herman & S. Oswald (Eds.), Rhétorique et cognition: Perspectives théoriques et stratégies persuasives—Rhetoric and Cognition: Theoretical Perspectives and Persuasive strategies (pp. 313–343). Peter Lang.

Ozols, D., Gygax, P., Oswald, S., Maillat, D., & Maillat, D. (under revision). Do people agree with everyone? An experimental investigation of majority appeals in argumentation. PLOS ONE.

Ozols, D., Maillat, D., & Oswald, S. (2016). Repetition as context selection constraint: A study in the cognitive underpinnings of persuasion. In D. Mohammed & M. Lewiński (Eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action: Proceedings of the 1st European Conference on Argumentation, Lisbon, 2015. Vol. I (Vol. 1, pp. 421–429). College Publications.

Pollaroli, C., Greco, S., Oswald, S., Miecznikowski, J., & Rocci, A. (Eds.). (2019). Rhetoric and Language: Emotions and style in argumentative discourse (Special issue of Informal Logic 39:4).

Rigotti, E., & Greco, S. (2019). Inference in Argumentation: A Topics-Based Approach to Argument Schemes. Springer.

Rocci, A. (2006). Pragmatic inference and argumentation in intercultural communication. Intercultural Pragmatics, 3(4), 409–442. https://doi.org/10.1515/IP.2006.026

Sbisà, M. (2006). Two conceptions of rationality in Grice’s theory of implicature. Rationality of Belief and Action, 233–247.

Sbisà, M. (2018). Varieties of speech act norms. In M. Witek & I. Witczak-Plisiecka (Eds.), Normativity and variety of speech actions (pp. 23–50). Brill Rodopi.

Schumann, J., Zufferey, S., & Oswald, S. (accepted). The linguistic formulation of fallacies matters: The case of causal connectives. Argumentation.

Schumann, J., Zufferey, S., & Oswald, S. (2019). What makes a straw man acceptable? Three experiments assessing linguistic factors. Journal of Pragmatics, 141, 1–15.

Snoeck Henkemans, F. (2014). Speech act theory and the study of argumentation. Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, 36(1), 41–58.

van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (1984). Speech acts in argumentative discussions: A theoretical model for the analysis of discussions directed towards solving conflicts of opinion. Foris publications.

van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (1988). Rules for argumentation in dialogues. Argumentation, 2(4), 499–510.

van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (2004). A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The Pragma-dialectical Approach. Cambridge University Press.

van Eemeren, F. H., Houtlosser, P., & Henkemans, A. F. S. (2007). Argumentative indicators in discourse: A pragma-dialectical study (Vol. 12). Springer Science & Business Media.

Walton, D., & Krabbe, E. C. (1995). Commitment in dialogue: Basic concepts of interpersonal reasoning. SUNY press.

Witek, M., & Witczak-Plisiecka, I. (2019). Normativity and Variety of Speech Actions. Brill.

Dr. Steve Oswald
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • pragmatics
  • argumentation
  • interface
  • inference
  • meaning
  • conversation

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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