Jump to main navigation Skip to Content

DFG Logo: back to Homepage Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

banner: Kopfbereich DFG2020 Logo - englisch Because research matters

Information for Researchers No. 17 | 13 April 2016
Priority Programme “XPrag.de: New Pragmatic Theories based on Experimental Evidence” (SPP 1727)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme entitled “XPrag.de: New Pragmatic Theories based on Experimental Evidence” (SPP 1727) in March 2013. The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites researchers to submit proposals for the second three-year funding period.

The overall goal of XPrag.de is to develop a precise pragmatic theory that is informed by evidence using experimental methods. The programme is targeted towards researchers in linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy and related fields. The aim is to advance pragmatic theory by simultaneously formulating formally explicit models of the cognitive mechanisms underlying pragmatics and testing these models using experimental methods.

Experimental Pragmatics has begun to make substantial progress on age-old pragmatic problems by integrating three independent advances:

  • the growing power of formally precise, predictive pragmatic models on the basis of developments in other fields of linguistics, especially semantics, and their ability to make fine-grained predictions,
  • the emergence of links between elements of pragmatic models and cognitive and neuroscientific mechanisms,
  • and the increased availability and accessibility of many suitable experimental methods to test the fine-grained predictions of these new pragmatic models.

These three developments in combination have already proven capable of resolving some long-standing pragmatic problems, but much more of the potential remains for future work.

For this second funding period, we invite submissions that address interdisciplinary research questions combining theoretical and methodological aspects. Proposals should address core areas of pragmatics such as enrichment of literal meaning and the processing of non-literal meaning, and we especially encourage proposals that investigate yet understudied phenomena. It is vital that research is supported by a variety of data gathered with different methods, and among others the following three offer potential for the advancement of pragmatic theory:

  • timing and neural data that extend pragmatic theory and contribute to psychological and neurobiological models of language,
  • studies of less easily accessible languages where specific phenomena exist that have the potential to extend pragmatic theory,
  • and research with populations other than typical adults that provide insights into specific aspects of the underlying pragmatic processes.

The scientific ambition of XPrag.de is best met by a broad collaboration involving researchers from different disciplines: in addition to pragmaticists, semanticists, psycholinguists, neurolinguists, psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers have substantial contributions to make. Joined project proposals across disciplines are welcome.

We expect two broad benefits of the project to cognitive science in general: For one, the focus on experimentally testable predictions supports the development of increasingly precise pragmatic theories. Furthermore, XPrag.de connects the model theoretic view of linguistics and the cognitive view of psychology and neuroscience in a vital way.

Submission of proposals

Research proposals for the second three-year funding period are now invited. Deadline for submission is 8 November 2016. Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system elan, selecting “SPP 1727”. If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal.

All proposals must be written in English. The proposals will be evaluated by a review panel, which is planned to meet in January/February 2017. The envisaged start of funding is May 2017. The duration of the projects should be 36 months, and cannot exceed this period.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal instructions and guidelines are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, part B, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

Scientific questions about this Priority Programme should be directed to its coordinators:

For administrative enquiries, please contact: