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FYI: Call for Contributions: Genre in Discourse and Cognition


Author: Wilbert Spooren

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
General Linguistics
Cognitive Science

FYI Body: We are inviting contributions to an edited volume on Genre in Discourse and Cognition: Concepts, Models and Methods.

Short Description:
Discourse genre - a conventional way of performing communicative activities (news reports, business letters, legal decisions) using language - is a well-established concept in various branches of discourse studies, stylistics and applied linguistics. A surprising fact, then, is that we hardly know how genre operates from cognitive and linguistic points of view. This volume intends to explore how recent insights regarding the relation between discourse and cognition, as well as recent developments towards more sophisticated methodology in discourse research, may contribute to solving a number of longstanding empirical and theoretical problems surrounding the concept of ‘discourse genre’ (more detailed description below).

Editors:
Ninke Stukker (University of Groningen)
Wilbert Spooren (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Gerard Steen (VU University Amsterdam)

Contributions:
We invite contributions from any theoretical framework (for example: Systemic Functional Grammar, Language for Specific Purposes, Critical Discourse Analysis, Applied Linguistics, Stylistics, Cognitive Linguistics, etc.) addressing the volume’s central question: how do discourse genres operate from linguistic and cognitive points of view?
We are especially interested in studies that use innovative empirical methods for testing hypotheses regarding the linguistic and/or cognitive operation of discourse genres.

Deadline for expression of intent: February 15;
Deadline for abstracts: March 1.

If you are interested, please send a tentative title by February 15 (to n.m.stukker@rug.nl). By March 1 please send us a brief abstract (300-600 words, to n.m.stukker@rug.nl), referring to framework, methods and results, and also indicating how your contribution relates to the overall contents of the volume as sketched below. We will check your contribution for cohesion with the rest of the volume. We will notify you within two weeks whether we will ask you to send in a complete paper.
If you need any additional information, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Timeline:
We roughly envisage the following time-line:
- February 15: provisional title due
- March 1: abstracts due
- March 15: notification of provisional acceptance and submission of book proposal to series editors
- June 1: (expected) decision by series editors
- June 30: full papers due; send out for external review
- September 15: reviews due
- October 31: revised versions due
- November 15: submission to the series editor
- January 15, 2015: review of volume as a whole by the series editor due
- March 15, 2015: submission of final manuscript to the series editor
- November 2015: expected date of publication

Publisher:
Mouton de Gruyter and Benjamins have both shown interest in our initial plans.

Books Description:
Genres - conventional ways of performing communicative activities (news reports, business letters, legal decisions) using language - are a well-established concept in various branches of discourse studies, stylistics and applied linguistics. A surprising fact, then, is that we hardly know how genre operates from cognitive and linguistic points of view. This may be due to the fact that genre is a complex and multifaceted concept, consisting of linguistic, pragmatic, and content-related knowledge, having both linguistic, psychological, social and communicative aspects, and thus crossing traditional linguistic theoretical borders. Another reason may be that research on genre faces a number of empirical problems, a crucial one being that assumed models are not always unambiguously reflected in the linguistic form of ‘real life’ generic texts. At the same time, however, numerous studies have shown that language users do have ‘genre knowledge’ and that overall linguistic patterns in discourse do tend to correlate with the communicative functions performed.

This volume attempts to address this paradoxical situation. It starts from the assumption that linguistic variation, and interaction between interpretive sources of various nature (content, grammar, social context) should not be viewed as ‘problems’, but instead as a fundamental characteristic of human cognition and communication.

We bring together a number of experts in these fields whose contributions center around two themes: (i) theoretical concepts and models, exploring how more general aspects of human cognition (categorization, prototype structure, schematization, framing) may account for the elusive and complex linguistic patterns attested in real life generic texts, and (ii) methods, addressing the question what methodology we need to adequately map out the complex interactions between content, context and grammar creating genre meaning.

Viewed from the perspective of genre studies, our goal is to explore the usefulness of concepts from linguistics and cognitive sciences to solve a number of longstanding empirical problems regarding genre.

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