Keynotes on Friday June 1st and Saturday June 2nd:
- Daniel Perrin, ZHAW Zurich
- Rob Schoonen , Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
- Claire Kramsch, UC Berkeley
Please find the updated (May 9th) Programme here. (pdf)
The complete Abstract booklet can be viewed here (a printed version will be handed out at registration).
Investigating linguistic practices: The case of scalability in professional text production
Daniel Perrin, Zurich University of Applied Sciences
This keynote uses the case of collaborative professional text production to discuss the concept of linguistic practice from both theoretical and practical perspectives. By drawing on large corpora of real-life data and applying the multi-method approach of progression analysis, practices are identified that allow for flexible planning in the dynamic system of text production.
Findings show that key features of the text production practices under investigation, as well as of the writing phases they dominate, scale up. This means that the patterns found in both practices and phases recur in similar forms throughout the various levels and time frames of text production. They are manifested during the split seconds it takes to make stylistic decisions as well as over the days, weeks and months of organizational document cycling. This understanding of scalability reaches far beyond former concepts of planning in text production research.
In conclusion, it appears text production research conducted in real-life contexts sharpens theoretical approaches to linguistic practices on one hand, and contributes to sustainably solving practical problems on the other.
From task to ability. Issues in the operationalization of language ability.
Rob Schoonen , Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
In applied linguistic research, we investigate the language ability of first and second language learners, of subpopulations of language users with specific histories or certain linguistic challenges, and we are interested in their language performance under various circumstances. We make claims about language abilities, that is, abilities to perform certain language tasks in real life and real time. The validity of our research outcomes and the interpretation thereof depends to a large extent on the quality of the operationalization of language ability. Which tasks do we administer to the participants in our studies and what can we infer about their language ability on the basis of these tasks? In this talk, I will address some of the issues we have to face when we conduct our applied linguistic research and want to make claims about language learners’ language ability. To what extent will these claims be depend on the task we have used to collect our data, the items we have used in our test, or to what extent will they depend on the raters that were involved in the grading of speaking or writing samples? It turns out that trying to answer these questions about the psychometric quality of our measurements leads us back to fundamental questions about our theoretical framework for language ability.
Teaching language in the age of Trump
Claire Kramsch, UC Berkeley
The age of Trump is not only the age of alternative facts and post-truths. It is also the age of tweets, reality TV, branding and other verbal entrepreneurship, and of the multiple manifestations of what Harcourt has called “the expository society “ (Harcourt 2013). In the last two years, the Trump tsunami has changed not only the political landscape in the U.S., but most worryingly for applied linguists, it has changed the very use of language in everyday life. Language as a social institution is under attack, not only in its structure, but also in its use on mass and social media, and in the halls of political power. If there is one thing that Trump’s use of language has revealed it is the use and abuse of symbolic power and the way it is transforming the discourse of politics, business and the media. As a fundamentally structuralist field of inquiry, applied linguistics has not paid enough attention to the post-structural , symbolic dimensions of power in language. Drawing on theoretical insights from Louis Marin, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, this paper looks at how language in Trump’s discourse is providing a (negative) model of language use that should prompt researchers and teachers in applied linguistics to reflect on the political and moral dimensions of foreign language education.