Panel 10. 10.(Inter)subjectivity in different registers and text types (ENG)

Organizers: Tiit Hennoste (University of Tartu),,; Helle Metslang (University of Tartu),

The workshop focuses on a little-studied aspect of linguistic (inter)subjectivity (S/IS): the comparison of different registers/text types and the explanation of the similarities and differences between them (see e.g. Baumgarten et al. 2012, de Cock 2015). In some text types (everyday conversation, fiction, etc.), (inter)subjectivity is the norm, while in others (academic texts, legal texts, news articles, etc.) objectivity is required. The characteristic parameters of each register (e.g. whether it is verbal/written/online, public/everyday interaction, dialogue/monologue, descriptive/argumentative text, see Hennoste et al. 2021) influence the type and amount of (inter)subjectivity found within it as well as the choice of particular S/IS expressions. The expression of S/IS can be divided between functional domains, e.g.

  • expression of the truth and trustworthiness of the information being conveyed,
  • expression of deictic relationships,
  • expression of argumentation related to the given text/discourse,
  • expression of discourse acts that influence the hearer,
  • expression of expressiveness and emotion,
  • expression of value judgments.

(Inter)subjectivity is expressed by means on all levels of language, such as discourse and pragmatic particles (see e.g. Haselow 2012), expressions of assessment and attitude (see e.g. Ghesquière 2013), verbal categories (mood, person, impersonal voice, negation), modal verbs, definiteness marking and reference to speaker and hearer in noun phrases, explicitness-implicitness of subject, syntactic constructions (e.g. clauses with complement-taking predicates, see e.g. O’Grady 2017), utterance types corresponding to different discourse acts (questions, commands, wishes, exclamations), sentence-intonational means (intonation curve, stress), and even orthography (e.g. use of capital letters, punctuation and emoticons in computer-mediated interaction, see e.g. Ling & Baron 2007). The need to express S/IS is one of the motivators for the development of thetical grammar (see Kaltenböck et al et al. 2011, Bladas 2012).

We await presentations which deal with the manifestation of subjectivity and intersubjectivity in different registers and text types, for example:

  • the frequency/occurrence of S/IS expressions in different registers
  • similarities and differences in S/IS expression across and/or within different registers/text types
  • which functional domains of S/IS are present in which registers
  • which means are used when striving for objectivity
  • how S/IS markers develop
  • how S/IS marking is influenced by characteristic parameters of the register
  • how S/IS marking is influenced by language-external factors (social norms, ideologies, language contact, etc.)
  • how S/IS marking is influenced by linguistic attitudes
  • which material and which methods to use in order to examine S/IS expression in different text types/registers

The workshop is organized by the project team PRG341 “Pragmatics overwrites grammar: subjectivity and intersubjectivity in different registers and genres of Estonian”.


Baumgarten, Nicole, Inke Du Bois & Juliane House (eds.) 2012. Subjectivity in Language and in Discourse. (Studies in Pragmatics 10.) Brill.

Bladas, Òscar 2012. Conversational routines, formulaic language and subjectification. Journal of Pragmatics, 44(8), 929–957.

Ghesquière, Lobke, An Van Linden & Kristin Davidse 2013. Subjective compounds and subjectivity/subjectification in the English noun phrase. English Studies 94 (1): 90–117.

De Cock, Barbara 2015. Subjectivity, intersubjectivity and non-subjectivity across spoken language genres. Spanish in Context. 12(1), 10–34.

Haselow, Alexander 2012. Subjectivity, intersubjectivity and the negotiation of common ground in spoken discourse: Final particles in English. Language & Communication, 32(3), 182–204.

Hennoste, Tiit, Helle Metslang, Külli Habicht, Külli Prillop 2021. Kuue (inter)subjektiivsuspartikli kasutus eesti keele registrites. Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat 66, 91−123.

Ling, Rich & Naomi Baron 2007. Text Messaging and IM: Linguistic Comparison of American College Data. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 26(3): 291–298.

Kaltenböck, Gunther, Bernd Heine & Tania Kuteva 2011. On thetical grammar. Studies in Language 35, 4: 848–893.

O’Grady, Gerard 2017. „I think“ in political speech. International Review of Pragmatics 9, 269–303.