Sven Lauer

is a postdoctoral fellow (ZIF/Marie Curie) at the Zukunftskolleg and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz.


Research interests


My dissertation Towards a dynamic pragmatics (Stanford, 2013) ties in with many of the topics below. It develops the foundations of a formal system for the study of pragmatics that faithfully models Gricean pragmatic inference as interlocutors' reasoning about each other's utterance choices. The framework is applied to issues involving clause typing and the form/force mapping, as well as the study of conversational implicatures.

Ongoing work

Implicatures and Gricean reasoning

Mandatory implicatures, implicatures and (in)felicity, Need A Reason implicatures, and related matters.

Clause types and Performativity

(Joint work with Cleo Condoravdi.)
Imperatives and clause-typing. The form-force mapping and the semantics/pragmatics "interface". Explicit performatives and performative uses of modals, desideratives, and other expressions.


See also the last two handouts for our NASSLLI course, as well as Chapters 3-6 of my dissertation.

While I generally remove references to handouts from this page once their content has been covered in a published paper, the handouts listed above remain because they have been referenced in print and present slightly different takes resulting from various stages of our thinking about the topic.

Explicit performatives

Exclamatives and expressive meaning

(The WCCFL-proceedings paper only covers the empirical part of our talk. The handout contains also an outline of our theoretical proposal on the matter. A manuscript laying this out in detail is soon to come.)


Anankastic and similar conditionals

(Joint work with Cleo Condoravdi.)
Anankastic conditionals as involving effective preferences. Varieties of Anankasticity.

The two papers are companions of a sort: Anankastic conditionals are just conditionals lays out our account of the semantics of anankastic and near-anankastic conditionals and discusses the existing linguistic literature in some depth, Preference-conditioned necessities: ... is concerned with the (pragmatic) question of how (many) anankastic conditionals can be used to give advice and takes the semantic account as a starting point for a discussion of certain philosophical concerns about practical reasoning and the requirements of rationality.

Loose Talk

Causation, Causatives, Counterfactuals, and their ilk

English periphrastic causatives. cause vs. make. Causal necessity and causal sufficiency. Causatives in Japanese and Korean.

I also organized a Workshop on Counterfactuals, Causality and Inertia (nick-named the N3C-workshop), in the Fall of 2009.

Free Choice

-ever free relatives, German irgend-indefinites, Spanish algún. The notion of postsuppositions in a dynamic semantics.

Other work