CFP: Taaldag 2018

Zoals elk jaar organiseert de BKL (Belgische Kring voor Linguïstiek) ook dit jaar een Taaldag. Deze zal doorgaan op vrijdag 25 mei 2018 aan de Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres van de Université de Liège.

Abstracts
Lezingen (20’ presentatie + 10’ discussie) mogen gaan over elk mogelijk taalkundig onderwerp en kunnen worden gepresenteerd in een van de drie landstalen (Nederlands, Frans, Duits) of in het Engels. Abstracts (max. 500 woorden, exclusief referenties) vermelden duidelijk het onderwerp, de doelstellingen, de gebruikte data en methode en de (voorlopige) resultaten. De abstracts (met vermelding van naam en affiliatie van de auteurs) dienen ten laatste op 21 april 2018 ingediend te worden bij https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cbl20180. U krijgt ten laatste op 1 mei antwoord van ons.

Plaats
Alle activiteiten (lezingen en lunch) zullen plaatsvinden in het hoofdgebouw (A1) van de stadscampus van de Université de Liège. Het adres is Place du 20 août, 4000 Liège. Het ligt op wandelafstand van het station Luik-Palais. Van het station Luik-Guillemins neem je best de bus (TEC) tot aan de halte “Opéra”, vanwaar je via de Place de la République française en de Rue de l’Université het universiteitsgebouw kan bereiken. Je kan je TEC-biljetten op je MOBIB-kaart (NMBS) laden.

Deelname
Deelname aan de taaldag is gratis, zowel voor leden als niet-leden. Wie een lezing wil geven moet echter wel lid zijn op het moment dat zij/hij de abstract indient. Nieuwe leden vullen via de website een ledenformulier in en betalen hun lidgeld voor de Taaldag –€ 40 voor wie het laatste volume van Belgian Journal of Linguistics in 2018 wil ontvangen, zo niet € 20.

Prijs
Zoals vorig jaar is er ook dit jaar een prijs voor de beste presentatie door een doctoraatsstudent. Indien u hieraan wenst deel te nemen dient u dit expliciet te vermelden in uw mail bij het indienen van uw abstract.

Organisatie:
Lot Brems
Dominique Longrée
Nicolas Mazziotta
Julien Perrez
Laurent Rasier
Marie Steffens
An Van linden

Wetenschappelijk comité:
Miriam Bouzouita (UGent), Timothy Colleman (UGent), Bert Cornillie (KU Leuven), Walter Daelemans (UAntwerpen), Philippe De Brabanter (ULB), Sabine De Knop (USL), Gert De Sutter (UGent), Patrick Dendale (UAntwerpen), Thomas François (UCLouvain), Alex Housen (VUB), Marie-Aude Lefer (UCLouvain), Nicolas Mazziotta (ULiège), Fanny Meunier (UCLouvain), Tanja Mortelmans (UAntwerpen), Julien Perrez (ULiège), Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (KU Leuven), Martina Temmerman (VUB), Johan van der Auwera (UAntwerpen), An Van linden (ULiège), Guido Vanden Wyngaerd (KU Leuven), Gudrun Vanderbauwhede (UMons)

LNAT4: Scales in language and logic

Brussels, September 20-21, 2018

http://www.crissp.be/lnat-4-first-call-for-papers/

Call for Papers

Theme description

Scalarity is a rich field of study in linguistics and logic. Linguistically, it enters into the meaning of a wide range of expressions.  The best-known case in degree semantics may well be the gradable adjective (tall, short, likely, good), but cross-categorially many other cases have been detected and analysed in similar scalar terms:

  • Verbs: degree achievement verbs (broaden, widen), directed motion (rise, drop), measure verbs (cost), psych-verbs (like, amuse);
  • Nouns: gradable nouns (an utter fool, a slight disappointment);
  • Adverbs: intensifying (hard/much), focus associating (only, even, merely);
  • Prepositions: (above, before, under);
  • Cardinal and ordinal numerals (five, sixth);
  • Quantifiers (many, more, most, all, few).

Given the crucial role of scalarity in the semantics of vague adjectives and nouns (e.g. tall, heap), it can help to understand the sorites paradox, which has been studied extensively in philosophical logic (Keefe 2000). Some solutions to this paradox, such as Williamson’s (1994) epistemicism, stick to classical logic, while others move to systems of many-valued logic. An interesting philosophical question is whether the latter move can or should be understood as transforming truth itself into a scalar notion.

The semantic scales that have been proposed in degree semantics to account for gradability are standardly (Kennedy 2007, Solt 2015) viewed as (i) a set of values (ii) with an associated ordering relation and (iii) a dimension of measurement.  But that is where the uniformity ends, given that there are – in many cases real, in some cases possibly eliminable – elements of variation for each of the three components of a scale. Some scales are viewed as involving a discrete linear order of values, others as dense (with a third value between any two other values), though it has also been argued (Fox & Hackl 2006) that all measurement is dense. Some scales involve conventionalized units of measurement (cm, min, etc.), others don’t. Some have scalar endpoints at both ends, some at neither, and some at one end (Kennedy & McNally 2005). The values on the scales have been identified as degrees, which can be thought as points on the scale (Beck 2011), but also as extents (Seuren 1973), vectors (Zwarts 2003), etc. (cf. Solt 2015, 23) And while there is a wide range of possible dimensions (volume, weight, age, duration, distance, etc.), the orders they involve come in a limited number of types (ordinal, interval or ratio orders). Moreover, such types of scales seem to be metaphorically connected to properties of spatial axes in a constrained number of ways (Nouwen, sd): vertical in the case of number (under 50 attendants), very often horizontal for time expressions (after three minutes), for instance.

Given that linguistic expressions of scalar opposition are so often latched on to spatial experience, it would also be useful to discover whether and, if so, which kinds of geometrical diagrams for scalarity have been proposed in the literature (a case in point are those introduced in Ogden 1932, 16).  While the question which diagrams have been proposed has a historical interest in its own right, the features of such diagrams may provide clarifying perspectives on the phenomenon itself.

Since a nonlinear relation between causal stimuli and their mental representation – in the form of compressed logarithmic scales – is characteristic of several modes of perception (colour vision, overtones in music, touch, taste, etc.), the possible connection between such perceptual scales in human cognition and scalarity as it surfaces in language and logic is an issue of considerable interest (cf. Dehaene et al. 2009 on number).

 In view of the above, we welcome papers which contribute to the correct identification of  (i) the nature and variation of scalarity in language and logic, (ii) the diagrams proposed for scalar notions, as well as (iii) the nature of possible connections between logico-linguistic scalar concepts and perception scales.

Invited speakers

We are pleased to announce that the following invited speakers have agreed to give a talk at LNAT4:

  • Christopher Kennedy (University of Chicago)
  • Stefanie Solt  (Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS))

Abstract Guidelines

Abstracts should be in PDF-format, anonymous, at most one page long, and should include any example sentences. A second page may be added for bibliographical references only. Please submit abstracts through EasyChair, using the following link:

https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=lnat4

Authors may submit at most one individual and one co-authored abstract.

The abstract submission deadline is 15 June 2018, midnight, Brussels time. Notification of acceptance will be on July 15, 2018.

Important Dates

First call for papers: April 1, 2018

Second call for papers: May 1, 2018
Abstract submission deadline: June 15, 2018
Notification of acceptance: July 15, 2018
Conference: September 20-21, 2018

Organizing Committee

  • Lorenz Demey
  • Dany Jaspers
  • Cora Pots
  • Hans Smessaert
  • Jolijn Sonnaert
  • Tanja Temmerman
  • Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
  • Guido vanden Wyngaerd

Languaging Diversity 4: Discourse and Diversity in the Global City

Date: 27-Sep-2018 – 29-Sep-2018
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact: Paul Sambre
Meeting URL: https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/ling/languagingdiversity2018

Meeting Description:
Discourses in/of/about the city vibrantly conceptualize, narrate and imagine the past, present and future of a city and its citizens. The city’s status, character, spirit and image are constantly imagined, reproduced and framed in private and public communication. In urban discourse languages, identities and subcultures meet, as old and new inhabitants interact with temporary visitors and guests. Accordingly, alternative city images may arise, as existing discourse representations of cities are recontextualized and transformed in other visions about the city and citizenship. This process implies utopian or dystopian views on the city, as discourse zooms in on challenges, problems and possible solutions over time. Discourse as such displays different social actors evolving around urban life, which gives an insight into to attitudes, opinions and sentiments about the city. In global cities, social experience, spaces and activities are lived through the linguascape of complex multilingual, multisensory and multimodal repertoires, as citizens’ identities and (absence of) interactions cross borders which connect different languages, time, space and semiotic modes.

This conference brings together interdisciplinary research about discourse(s) in global cities, and wishes to analyze and discuss commonalities and distinctiveness between urban areas, conceived of as networks of spatial and symbolic nodal points and peripheral zones. The interdisciplinary focus looks for discussions and connections which involve the broad field of discourse studies and correlated issues.

Keynotes:

Giuseppe Balirano (University of Naples ”L’Orientale”)
New criminal borderscapes in old urban cityscapes

Jan Blommaert (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Contingency and structure in a superdiverse Antwerp neighborhood

Christopher Hart (Lancaster University, United Kingdom)
Discourses of Disorder: Representations of Riots, Strikes and Protests in Globalised Cities

Maria Cristina Paganoni (University of Milan, Italy)
Heritage in diverse cities: a discursive perspective

CFP: What’s (the) News? Values, Viruses and Vectors of Newsworthiness

13-14 December 2018
Third biennial conference of the Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies (BIJU)
Department of Applied Linguistics
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium

Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2018

Plenary speakers
Monika Bednarek (University of Sydney, Australia)
Tony Harcup (University of Sheffield, UK)

Steered by what Kovach & Rosenstiel describe as our ‘awareness instinct’, exchanging ‘news’ fulfills basic human needs for information, orientation, and connection. The entanglement of ‘news’, understood as recent and current public information, and the development of journalism (as a profession), renders the question what ‘is’ or ‘becomes’ news highly relevant for the study of journalism. One particularly influential approach to ‘newsworthiness’ in journalism studies emerged from Galtung and Ruge’s 1965 seminal study on ‘news values’ in (foreign) news reporting. The core question of this study was which criteria journalists apply in the news selection process. The authors contend that (negative) events having to do with conflict, elites or change in the daily lives or the immediate environment of the audience are likely to become news. Especially if they have some magnitude and if they are recent, unexpected and/or if they can be linked to individ
ual people. Since then, numerous scholars taking sociological or critical cultural approaches to ‘news values’, and selection and journalistic routines in general, have revisited their ideas, and refined and complemented them.
These insights have been applicable to a lesser or greater extent throughout the whole history of journalism, yet, the digital era and the advent of social media more specifically have altered vectors – understood both as agents and carriers – of newsworthiness significantly, reshaping how ‘news’ is conceived, the way it comes about and is exchanged. Within a networked, globalized environment, the range of sources that are available to journalists or that are able to trigger ‘news’ on a day-to-day basis has expanded considerably, while a plethora of newcomers (e.g. citizen journalists, alternative, grassroots and partisan media outlets) in or at the margins of the journalistic field challenge traditional conceptions of ‘newsworthiness’, as well as the relationship between ‘journalism’ and ‘news’ per se (e.g. in ‘slow journalism’ and ‘constructive journalism’ movements). Even if the position of these newcomers along traditional news media’s status as
primary definers of ‘the news’ may still be subject to debate, it is hard to deny the impact of digitization and social media on contemporary audiences’ daily ‘news diet’.
Amongst others, search engines, (automated) news aggregators, and social media platforms, and their underlying algorithms, have become key to understanding how news emerges and circulates nowadays. Social media allow to register which stories are clicked, liked or shared most and thus to examine which topics and approaches raise the highest interest of the audience. Journalists are expected to develop a feeling for ‘shareability’ and to produce texts and visuals which will ‘go viral’. The focus in the selection process seems to have shifted ever more from what journalists deemed fit to publish towards what the audience is expected to appreciate most. Moreover, as clicks, likes and shares are monitored automatically, news stories which receive the most attention of readers are moved up higher in the news flow, so that they are picked up even more often. This presentation process often happens without human intervention, thus leaving the selection entirely to the appreciation
of the audience. Furthermore, these developments have also led to highly customized news packages – ‘me media’ – and the related issues of the ‘filter bubble’ and ‘echo chamber’.
However, it is still the journalist (or is it the ‘news worker’) who decides what shape the story will take and which aspects will be accentuated. The topic of news values can therefore also be approached from a linguistic/discursive side. The main question then is how news workers construct an event as interesting or relevant, i.e. how they use language to make certain events newsworthy, especially on the internet media platforms. And taking into consideration the importance of visual resources on these platforms, an analysis of verbal text will in many cases have to be replaced by or complemented with a multimodal analysis.
We invite participants to engage in a critical discussion of newsworthiness. Possible questions which can be addressed are: are there topics which are newsworthy by nature, which elements arouse most interest in human psyche, which stories and/or sources do journalists and their audience find worth sharing, how do news values vary between media types and news beats, how can journalists or news workers construct issues or events as interesting, what is the relation between newsworthiness and publishing platforms.
Inspirational literature:
Bednarek, Monika & Helen Caple (2017). The Discourse of News Values: How News Organizations Create ‘Newsworthiness’. New York: Oxford University Press.

Harcup, Tony & Deirdre O’Neill (2017). What is news? News values revisited (again). Journalism Studies, 18 (12). pp. 1470-1488.

We welcome submissions from all relevant disciplinary backgrounds approaching topics including but certainly not limited to:
• News values in the selection of news
• News values in the production of news
• The linguistic or multimodal construction of an event as newsworthy
• The relation between publishing platforms and newsworthiness
• What makes news ‘go viral’
• Algorithms and automation in the presentation of news
• Methodological approaches to the study of newsworthiness

We welcome both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and analyses at process, product/text, and/or audience level.
All papers will be published (after the authors’ consent) in the electronic proceedings of the conference and we are planning to publish a selection of the papers in a volume and/or a special issue.
Junior researchers are warmly invited to participate.
The venue for the conference will be the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (https://www.naturalsciences.be/en) Vautierstraat/Rue Vautier 29, 1000 Brussels, near the Brussels-Luxembourg station, a lively neighbourhood with lots of hotels and restaurants.

Conference fee (including pre-conference reception, lunch, coffee):
€ 150 (regular participants), € 75 (PhD students).
Dinner will be organized on Friday 14 December and charged separately.

Please send a proposal of no more than 300 words (excluding selected references) together with your affiliation and a short biography (c. 100 words) to whatnews@vub.be by 30 June 2018. Decisions will be announced by 15 August. Questions about any aspect of the conference should be addressed to whatnews@vub.be.
For updates on the practical organization, please check our website.

CFP: CogLingDays8

The CogLing Days are the biennial conference of the Belgium Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association (www.benecla.com). The 8th CogLing Days will be held at the Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, on December 13th and 14th 2018 (www.cogling2018.wordpress.com).

We welcome contributions reporting on recent research in the various strands of cognitive linguistics or other cognitively inspired usage-based approaches to language.

Abstracts must not exceed 500 words, including references, and should mention the main research question(s), methodology, data and (expected) results. Abstracts can be submitted for an oral presentation (20’ + discussion time) or a poster and will be reviewed anonymously. We also welcome theme session proposals. Please submit via Easychair
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cogling8. You will be required to paste your abstract in the text box and to upload a pdf of your abstract. Please indicate your preference for an oral presentation or a poster.
The conference languages are English, Dutch and French.

Proposals for theme sessions (max. 500 word description + (tentative) titles and names of participants) should be submitted by 15 April 2018 to cogling8@uclouvain.be. When the theme session is accepted, individual abstracts should also be submitted via Easychair by 15 May 2018.  If your abstract is part of a theme session, please add the theme session title to your paper title.

Submission deadline proposals for theme sessions: 15 April 2018

Submission deadline abstracts: 15 May 2018

Notification of acceptance: 2 July 2018

Contact: Cogling8@uclouvain.be Continue reading

PLIN Day 2018: Technological innovation in language learning and teaching

The PLIN Day is an annual one-day thematic conference hosted by the Linguistics Research Unit of the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). The conference has established itself over the years as an international forum for the exchange of ideas among scholars and has brought together researchers from all over the world. The 2018 PLIN Day will take place on Friday, May 18th and is devoted to “Technological innovation in language learning and teaching”; it offers academics, professionals, undergraduate and postgraduate students an excellent opportunity to access, share and discuss cutting edge research in the field. The following (non-exhaustive) list of themes will be covered this year:
 
– Applying new insights from natural language processing to enhance digital scaffolding in language learning
– Using virtual reality and serious games to leverage task-based language learning and other complex learning environments
– Identifying the conditions under which mobile out-of-class language learning can produce the expected added value
– Exploring the potential of corpus linguistics for developing and implementing tools for language learning
 
The core programme of the conference will consist in keynote sessions but participants will also have the opportunity to present their most recent research and/or work in progress during an interactive poster session. We therefore invite researchers to submit abstracts addressing topics on new trends in technology supported language learning. The posters will be presented in English. Further information on the posters will be provided in due time. The presence of the author is required as short oral presentations of the posters will also be organised in a poster boost session. A prize will be awarded to the best poster presentation. Abstract submissions should be sent by 5 March 2018 to the following address: plindayucl@uclouvain.be.
 
Important Dates:
15 February, 2018: Registration opens
5 March, 2018: Deadline for abstract submissions
15 March, 2018: Notification of acceptance for a poster presentation
30 April, 2018: Early bird registration closes
 
Keynote Speakers:
Penelope Collins, University of California at Irvine
Dana Glabasova, Lancaster University
Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, The Open University
Gérald Schlemminger, University of Education Karlsruhe
Steve Thorne, University of Portland

CFP: Failing Identities: Identification and Resistance

20-21 September 2018
University of Liège, Belgium

This conference aims to scrutinize, clarify and elaborate upon the concept of identity, which ranks among the most (ab)used concepts in the humanities since the end of the 20th century.

The popularity of the concept is, first and foremost, to be situated in the aftermath of the linguistic turn, which led to identity being conceived of as the product of discursive interpellations. This theoretical reframing of the subject constitutes the theoretical basis of multiple strands of discourse theory and analysis, and of various types of (post)poststructuralist theory.

The pervasive presence of identity as an object of study is, however, and to an even greater degree, also explained by the postmodern critique of universality and the concomitant deconstruction of the universal subject as a fiction subservient to particular (masculine, white, western, heterosexual…) interests. It is precisely this critique that drives the various forms of progressive identity politics that are so conspicuously present today.

To put it simply and provocatively: where do we go from here? This fundamental question translates into a wide range of more specific questions, such as:

  • Is what (post)structuralism calls the decentred subject a mere passive recipient of discursive interpellations, or does it resist and, if so, in which way(s)? How should this resistance be understood – as an inability or rather as a refusal to accept discursive interpellations? As a rearticulation and ‘slanting’ of a given discourse? As a form of more or less subtle and agile negotiation with hegemonic pressures? As the articulation of a counterhegemonic discourse?
  • How paradoxical and/or ambivalent are identification processes? If a seemingly official and explicit refusal often hides a more fundamental implicit identification (‘I am no racist, but…’) and vice versa (‘We are determined to tackle tax evasion’), how do both levels interact with one another and what audiences are they intended for? How can identificatory acts and utterances be construed as positioning the subject within the conflictual and dialogic contexts from which they emerged?
  • How easy is it to cancel or replace identifications? Have ‘postmodern subjects’ really become fluid and endlessly malleable in a ‘liquid modernity’ (Zygmunt Bauman), or are they tough, inert and persistent? Do they have ‘hard kernels’ and, if so, what would be the nature of these? How important is the impact of discursive sedimentation on individual subjects, cultures and societies? How do deliberate or involuntary cancellations of identifications affect the subject? Are they emancipatory or destructive – or both?
  • Does the postmodern critique of the universal subject not in fact continue to refer to a universal horizon of equality and justice? Should this critique be maintained or should it give way to a dialectical vision of the opposition between the universal and the particular?
  • Are ‘progressive identity politics’ more needed than ever or are they at risk of becoming essentialist and unbearably reductionist stances?
  • Are ‘progressive identity politics’ genuinely progressive or do they allow the researchers involved to view themselves as ‘progressive’? What makes them superior to traditional, conservative identity politics? Do they hamper attempts to unite progressive groups and efforts, uniting only ‘deplorable  antiliberal, reactionary forces, as is argued by such varied authors as Eric Hobsbawm, Terry Eagleton, Slavoj Žižek, Vivek Chibber and Mark Lilla?
  • What are relevant methodological underpinnings of research on identity and identification? Which linguistic means can be observed to index identity (as one of their multiple functions), and how can we classify them meaningfully? For example, how can such phenomena as taboo expressions, metaphors, language varieties (e.g. sociolects and slang), language contact and learner languages enhance our understanding of identity and identification? What about language policy and (official and unofficial) puristic movements?

Proposals will be judged on their ability to address theoretical issues and methodological questions, or the latter’s application to concrete cases and corpora

Since the conference is interdisciplinary in nature, we welcome proposals from the fields of literary studies, linguistics, translation studies, cultural studies, communication studies, political studies, social sciences, philosophy and history.

Abstracts (in English or French) should not exceed 300 words and be submitted along with a brief biobibliographical note (100 words max.) by 1 March 2018 at the latest to the following address: letl@uliege.be. Participants will be notified by 1 May 2018.

Papers may be delivered in Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish, with discussions taking place in English and French.

Organizing committee (ULiège): Kim Andringa, Lieselotte Brems, Louis Gerrekens, Maxim Proesmans, Laurent Rasier, Erik Spinoy, Kris Steyaert, An Van linden, Patricia Willson
External: Ted Laros (Open Universiteit Nederland), Lieven Vandelanotte (UNamur)

Please check www.letl.uliege.be/cms/c_3141291/fr/letl-activites for up-to-date information.

19th International CALL Research Conference

Dear colleagues,

We hereby extend a cordial invitation to submit a proposal for our 19th International CALL Research Conference, which will be held in Bruges (Belgium) from 4 to 6 July 2018. The theme of the conference is CALL your Data.

You are invited to submit a proposal where you describe your past or current research and, more importantly, the challenges encountered and solutions found regarding the “Openness” of the data you make, use of and/or produce. Your submission should consist of a one page abstract (500 words). You should use the template provided. Deadline for submission of abstracts will be January 31st 2018.

Early-bird registration will be 340 EUR. Alex Boulton and Rose Luckin will be our keynote speakers. Updated details on the programme, venue, accommodation, registration and deadlines can be found on the conference website: www.call2018.org.

Looking forward to seeing you in Bruges,

The organizing committee.
Ann Aerts
Jozef Colpaert
Frederik Cornillie
Piet Desmet
Ine Windey

Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies (5th edition)

The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics of the University of Louvain (UCL) is organizing the fifth edition of the Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies conference series in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) on 12-14 September, 2018.

UCCTS is a biennial international conference which was launched by Richard Xiao in 2008 to provide an international forum for the exploration of the theoretical and practical issues pertaining to the creation and use of corpora in contrastive and translation/interpreting studies. The 2018 edition will be dedicated to the memory of Richard, who initiated the conference series but sadly passed away in January 2016.

After almost 30 years of intensive corpus use in contrastive linguistics and translation studies, the conference aims to take stock of the advances that have been made in methodology, theory, analysis and applications, and think up new ways of moving corpus-based contrastive and translation studies forward. UCCTS2018 is meant to bring together researchers who collect, annotate, analyze corpora and/or use them to inform contrastive linguistics and translation theory and/or develop corpus-informed tools (in foreign language teaching, language testing and quality assessment, translation pedagogy, computer-aided/machine translation or other related NLP domains).

Conference websitehttps://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/ilc/cecl/uccts2018.html

The deadline of abstract submission is extended to  January 22nd.

Sylviane Granger & Marie-Aude Lefer

Conference Chairs

CFP: 39th International GERAS Conference

15-17 March 2018

University of Mons, Belgium

Diachronic dimensions in specialised varieties of English:

implications in communications, didactics and translation studies

As a rule, practitioners of English for Specific Purposes show little interest in diachrony and, particularly, in the past of specialised languages. Their main motivation stems from learners’ needs, and needs analyses generally place them in the present or near future rather than in the past. Conversely, a growing number of researchers in continental Europe regard specialised languages as enduring linguistic objects – e.g. specialised varieties of English (SVEs) such as medical or legal English – and exploring these SVEs’ diachronic dimensions plays an increasing part in their scientific interests. This conference invites researchers to examine the diachronic dimensions of specialised English and to explore their various facets.

One first group of questions may bear on the communicational stakes of the subject. Languages aptly serve specialised communication in synchronic conditions, but what are the impacts of diachronic distantiation on comprehension and interpretation? Learners frequently engage in documentary research and they consult texts that may belong in temporal settings lying outside their immediate learning time sphere. Do they have to be made aware of the evolutions in terms, discourse, genres, institutional reference, and of the influence of history on their specialised communities? These questions expand further if the history of SVEs comes into

consideration and if we wonder about their origins. Training learners to become erudite in specialised languages is clearly not an option; yet, totally ignoring the

diachronic dimension of SVEs may not be an adequate posture when it comes to training qualified teachers of English irrespective of their specialised domains.

A second set of questions flows from answers given to the first. If some scientific investment in diachrony makes sense for some SVEs, how can we design

learning/teaching strategies that meet the requirements of the “didactic transposition” put forward by Yves Chevallard (1985: 20)? The aim of the didactic transposition is to produce “knowledge for learners” from “scholars’ knowledge” and the challenge here is to introduce the diachronic dimension into the process. Motivation concerns are also a major issue if learners are invited to devote some time and effort to long-term aspects instead of engaging fully in hic and nunclanguage priorities.

The third group of interrogations concerns translation issues. Culture has long been a major object of research in translation studies (often contrasting “natural” with

“exotic” translations), but diachrony seems to have attracted limited interest. Yet, translators are often challenged by source elements that have changed in the course of time such as terminological evolutions like neologisms or changes in nomenclature; modifications in phraseology resulting from usage or imposed by competent authorities; or paradigmatic changes in the truth conditions of the world, as when one scientific theory is proved wrong and is replaced by another.

In translation studies, source-oriented translation and target-oriented translation only meet part of the translators’ dilemmas when they are confronted with diachrony. The source-oriented translator would simply keep the past elements of the source text and include them in the target text while the target-oriented translator would aim at adapting past elements to make them fit the present. Functionalist translation theories offer better strategies in these cases. Following the

skopos theory, every translation has a purpose. The source text has to be translated so as to make sense for addressees, their knowledge and their needs, in the target circumstances. In this theoretical framework, diachrony-dependent translation decisions are subject to the function of the target text. In that respect, Christiane Nord (1997) stresses that translators have to compare source texts and target texts in terms of addressees and of the medium employed, but also in terms of the place and time of reception. By comparing, translators may make translation decisions which largely determine the target text. Functionalists have duly addressed the issue of time difference between source and target texts, but diachrony is a transversal phenomenon in translation because it is inherent in linguistic evolutions, whether in languages for general or specialised purposes. In that context, it would be of interest to study the evolutions in the translation of neologisms, of theory-constitutive metaphorical terms – their evolutions are often marked by scientific discoveries in the course of time. Other relevant prospective questions may include the translation of specialised phraseologies where parallel corpus analyses highlight diachronic markers.

 

References

Chevallard, Yves. 1985. La transposition didactique : du savoir savant au savoir enseigné. Grenoble: La Pensée Sauvage.

Nord, Christiane. 1997. Translating as a Purposeful Activity: Functionalist Approaches Explained. Manchester, UK: St Jerome.

 

Submission format

Languages: French or English

Number of words: 300

EXTENDED Deadline: 20 January 2018

Forward to: christine.michaux@umons.ac.bem.memet@orange.fr

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