Vals-Asla annual meeting, February 12th-14th, 2014:

Language Norms in Context

Università della Svizzera italiana, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Via G. Buffi 13, 6904 Lugano

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Language norms concern the form and meaning of linguistic expressions and, as discursive and pragmatic norms, also discourse genres and the sequential development of verbal interaction. The explicit or implicit rules, accepted by a community, that constitute such norms emerge from language use, but are also shaped by evaluation practices and different forms of normative discourse.
The nature, formation and status of language norms are particularly sensitive to the different contexts in which languages come to exist and operate within speakers’ communities. Social norms and conventions, the language system and the functions it fulfills when put into use in different contexts interact in complex ways. Applied linguistics is confronted with the triad use-evaluation-prescription with respect to some of its central objects such as language learning and teaching, language policy and planning, the use of language in the media, the social implications of linguistic practices in institutions and professional settings, language and communication in multilingual contexts. The conference raises the question of the relationship between norm and context in an applied perspective and proposes presentations in the following subject areas:

  1. The notion of norm in relation to language, texts and verbal interaction
    - Descriptive and prescriptive grammar today;
    - Norms, discourse genres and writing practices;
    - Politeness: practices, representations, and normative formulations;
    - Norms of argumentation in different contexts and normativity in argumentation theory.
  2. Norm and language policy
    - Language planning and legislation;
    - Effects of language policies;
    - National standards and variation.
  3. Language norms in language education and teaching
    - Linguistic and pragmatic norms in the family;
    - The teacher as an interpreter of the norm from nursery school to higher education;
    - Linguistic-discursive norms and exemplary texts in language teaching from anthologies to handbooks;
    - Norm, interlanguage and error evaluation in L2 teaching;
    - Pragmatic norms in classroom interaction.
  4. Language norms in professional settings
    - Norm and languages for special purposes; usage and updating of terminology.
    - Communicative norms in business and work.
    - Language norms in the communication between public administration and citizens: linguistic simplification, "style guides".
  5. Language norms in contact situations
    - The management of linguistic and discursive norms in situations of diglossia and multilingualism;
    - Effects of language contact on the development of norms;
    - Multilingualism, citizenship and quality of public communication.
  6. Context, use and system in norm changes
    - Norm and variation in a diachronic perspective;
    - Historicity of linguistic norms: the formation of a linguistic and literary canon and its vitality in culture and teaching practices; - Neology and linguistic norm. Criteria for assessing the acceptability of neologisms.
  7. Language norms in the media: from mass communication to the social media
    - Principles, professional standards and writing practices in journalism;
    - Discursive norms and quality of argumentation in mediated verbal interaction: interview, debate, talk-show;
    - Linguistic norms, genres, community and norms of verbal interaction in online communication and the social media.

Keynote speakers:

Organization: Johanna Miecznikowski (Istituto di studi italiani, USI), Elena Maria Pandolfi (Swiss Italian Linguistic Observatory - OLSI), Andrea Rocci (Institute of argumentation, linguistics and semiotics, USI); Martina Cameroni (USI), Matteo Casoni (OLSI), Margherita Luciani (USI), Elena Musi (USI), Marta Zampa (USI).

Scientific Committee: Silvia Albesano (USI), Hans Bickel (University of Basel), Corrado Bologna (USI / University of Roma Tre), Rebekka Bratschi (Zentrale Sprachdienste, Bern), Marcel Burger (University of Lausanne), Claudia Caffi (USI), Matteo Casoni (OLSI, Bellinzona), Sabine Christopher Guerra (USI / SUPSI / University of Bern), Luca Cignetti (SUPSI-DFA), Jean-François De Pietro (IRDP), Alexandre Duchêne (Institute of Multilingualism, Fribourg), Simone Fornara (SUPSI-DFA), Sara Greco Morasso (USI), Annelies Häcki Buhofer (University of Basel), Alain Kamber (University of Neuchâtel), Johanna Miecznikowski (USI), Bruno Moretti (OLSI / University of Bern), Stéphanie Pahud (University of Lausanne), Elena Maria Pandolfi (OLSI), Rudi Palmieri (USI), Annick Paternoster (USI / School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Leeds), Daniel Perrin (ZHAW), Eddo Rigotti (USI), Andrea Rocci (USI), Eva Lia Wyss (University of Koblenz-Landau).

It was possible to submit proposals until August 15, 2013.
Notification to authors: October 31, 2013.
Early-bird registration: October, 31 - December 8, 2013.
Deadline for online registration: January 10, 2014.

Early bird / regular registration for senior researchers: 110 / 130 CHF
Junior researchers as well as participants without presentation: 70 CHF.