|Author(s)||Peter Golato, Andrea Golato|
|Title||The real-time processing of real-world pragmatics: An experimental psychological-conversation analytic study of obwohl clauses in spoken German|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
This paper answers calls in the literature for research representing a fusion of the methodologies of Conversation Analysis (CA) and Experimental Psychology (EP). A review of CA literature on German obwohl ‘although’ -subordinate clauses suggests that their interactional meaning is a function of their word order, with verb-final word order indicating a concessive function and verb-second word order indicating a correction of the main clause’s meaning. A self-paced reading experiment, with German native speakers (n=48) and with stimuli drawn from actual German conversational data, was designed to test the aforementioned findings of the CA literature under controlled conditions. The experiment was designed to allow for direct measurement of the effect of pragmatics, as encoded through word order, upon real-time sentence processing. Results of the experiment suggest that the CA-derived interactional meanings of obwohl-initial subordinate clauses fully account for the performance of participants in the experiment. The paper shows that findings derived from CA studies can also be observed under the controlled conditions of a self-paced reading study, and that discourse-length utterances taken from naturally-occurring interaction can serve with little modification as stimuli in sentence processing studies investigating pragmatics.