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18th International Pragmatics Conference

Sun, 07/09/2023 - Fri, 07/14/2023
Call for papers ending on

Université Libre de Bruxelles
Av. Franklin Roosevelt 50
1050 Brussels

The conference is open to all pragmatics-related topics (in the broad sense, as defined by the International Pragmatics Association, of the interdisciplinary science of language use). But the following 'special theme' has been chosen.

The shape of interaction: the pragmatics of (a)typicality

We only know the typical from the atypical, and vice versa. Pragmaticians have made a fundamental contribution to the language sciences by showing that interactants presume mutual knowledge of the typical to do atypical things, flout maxims, make other people laugh. They have demonstrated that we expect others to produce typical behaviour, that we orient to atypical interaction and set out to restore routine conduct. They have illustrated in addition that communication can misfire when people fail to share typical, often implicit, signs for signalling mutual comprehension and that, because (a)typical language use is interactive with social standards for communication, this is not without repercussions.

At the same time there have been ample concerns about what pragmatic research has considered typical, normal language use, and what particular types of behaviour and linguistic choices it has been upholding as universal. Other questions have surfaced over who gets to be seen and investigated as commonsensically (a)typical, the extent to which individuals, rather than socially shared discourses, can be said to own pragmatic difficulties, not to mention over what can be considered acceptable pragmatic improvement for whom.

By focusing on the shape of interaction – that is, the resources and modalities used, the strategies deployed, its narrative unfolding or break-up, and its outcome for the involved participants – we seek to reinforce the pragmatics of (a)typicality by encouraging delegates to increase pragmatic insight into, among other things:

  • how populations diagnosed with autism, schizophrenia and TDAH, DLD or dyslexia process language and engage in meaningful interaction, with members of similarly diagnosed groups as well as undiagnosed others;
  • how communication is negotiated and achieved between and among deaf, deaf-blind, and hearing people; how these groups combine signs with visual and tactile gestures and other semiotic resources; how ideologies of sign language identify (a)typical resources and approach video and hearing technologies as ordinary or exceptional;
  • what can be identified as pragmatic difficulties and disfluencies, how these difficulties manifest themselves and are oriented to, and to what extent these difficulties are owned individually or rather emerge and/or disappear in situated, interpersonal communication;
  • how atypical events (health crises, natural disaster, terrorist attacks) turn everyday interaction into sites of surveillance, invite ‘atypical language’ detection technologies, or invite discourses which identify people as atypical, threatening members of society;
  • how human interaction conjures up and legitimises exceptional, disruptive events by, among others, allusive language or conspiracy theories; how conventional, official, discourses are contested by exceptional, multimodal protest discourses; and how human interaction forges atypical solidarity across ethnic, social, linguistic and/or political divides.
  • which arguments are formulated by laypeople and experts to account for monolingual and multilingual practices, sites or communities as (a)typical, in what contexts; how these accounts impact on observable language use; how opponents in debate over language define the limits of acceptable, (a)typical arguments; and how pragmaticians as a community of practice define the boundaries of (a)typical academic writing.
Conference chair: Jürgen Jaspers (ULB)

Local Organizing Committee: Philippe De Brabanter (ULB), Liesbeth Degand (UCLouvain), Philippine Geelhand (ULB), Mikhail Kissine (ULB), Laurence Meurant (U Namur & FNRS) [More info]

The International Conference Committee includes, in addition to the LOC members: Charles Antaki (Loughborough), Valentina Bambini (Pavia), Diana Boxer (Gainsville, Florida), Winnie Cheng (Hong Kong), Anita Fetzer (Augsburg), Pilar Garces-Conejos Blitvich (Charlotte, North Carolina), Maartje De Meulder (Utrecht), Christiane Hohenstein (Winterthur), Michael Haugh (Brisbane), Sachiko Ide (Tokyo), Cornelia Ilie (Strömstad), Napoleon Katsos (Cambridge), Sophia Marmaridou (Atrhens), Rosina Marquez Reiter (London), Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen (Manchester), Melissa Moyer (Barcelona), Jemina Napier (Edinburgh), Neal Norrick (Saarbrücken), Ira Noveck (Paris), Tsuyoshi Ono (Edmonton), Anna Papafragou (Philadelphia), Nausicaa Pouscoulous (London), Mieke Vandenbroucke (Antwerp), Mieke Van Herreweghe (Ghent), Jef Verschueren (Antwerp), Tuija Virtanen (Turku)
Université Libre de Bruxelles and the International Pragmatics Association
Contact person
Jef Verschueren
Contact person email address
Cfp Call for papers
CfP.docx18.08 KB