%A Gabriele Scheler %A Kerstin Fischer %T The Many Functions of Discourse Particles: A Computational Model of Pragmatic Interpretation %X We present a connectionist model for the interpretation of discourse particles in real dialogues that is based on neuronal principles of categorization (categorical perception, prototype formation, contextual interpretation). It can be shown that discourse particles operate just like other morphological and lexical items with respect to interpretation processes. The description proposed locates discourse particles in an elaborate model of communication which incorporates many different aspects of the communicative situation. We therefore also attempt to explore the content of the category discourse particle. We present a detailed analysis of the meaning assignment problem and show that 80%? 90% correctness for unseen discourse particles can be reached with the feature analysis provided. Furthermore, we show that ?analogical transfer? from one discourse particle to another is facilitated if prototypes are computed and used as the basis for generalization. We conclude that the interpretation processes which are a part of the human cognitive system are very similar with respect to different linguistic items. However, the analysis of discourse particles shows clearly that any explanatory theory of language needs to incorporate a theory of communication processes. %D 1997 %L cogprints7709