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Conference Information

Full Title: 25th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference

Short Title: ESFLC 2014
Location: Paris, France
Start Date: 10-Jul-2014 - 12-Jul-2014
Contact: Chris Gledhill
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The conference theme this year is 'Change, Mutation, Transformation...'. Our intention in choosing this year's theme is to examine not only how language change can be modeled using Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), but also to examine how the SFL approach to language has changed over time.

According to Michael Halliday, language change is thought to operate on at least three different (but ultimately related) time-scales:

1) the evolution of semiotic systems in human societies (phylogenetic change),
2) the development of language in the individual (ontological change) and
3) the unfolding of discourse in on-going texts (logogenetic change).

The notions of time and the modeling of dynamic change have recently emerged as key problems in the many fields of applied linguistics that SFL is usually associated with. For example, there is increasing interest in the analysis of short- and medium-term language change in the relatively new field of Diachronic Corpus Linguistics. Similarly, in Languages for Specific Purposes there has been a growing body of work on the evolution and on-going development of specific registers and text types, a topic which is of particular interest to SFL analysts in France. A similar movement in Terminology studies, especially from a 'socio-terminological' perspective, has attempted to come to grips with variation and language change, and now emphasises the dynamic, discourse-function of the text as a resource for terminological innovation, as well as the essential role of neology in the process of scientific writing. And in Translation studies, new technologies, especially the practices of translation memory and digital publishing have profoundly transformed the way in which theorists and practitioners view the translated text no longer as a finished 'product', but rather as an on-going 'project'.

All of these fields (corpus work, genre analysis, terminology, translation studies, etc.) have long been seen as central preoccupations of Systemic Functional linguistics. But no approach, even SFL, is safe from the ravages of time. What have been the effects of changing practices and models, and even language change itself on SFL as a theory? And to what extent do diachronic studies in fields such as corpus linguistics or genre analysis feed back into the SFL model? What can diachronic studies teach us about notions such as 'lexicogrammar', 'lexicogrammatical pattern', 'register' or 'genre'?

Our choice of conference theme is also an oblique reference to the fact that it has been 25 years since the first European SFL workshops organised in Nottingham in the 1980s. To what extent has there been change in the academic and intellectual context in which SFL evolves, and how has this change affected SFL? What aspects of SFL theory and practice have changed, and which have stayed constant in all these years? Who are the practitioners and theorists of SFL these days? Where do they come from, and what tendencies do these changes suggest for the future?

This conference is the 25th in the 'European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference / Workshop' series. For practical reasons, we have shortened the name to ESFLC 2014. For details of previous conferences in this series, see:

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Margaret Berry (formerly of Nottingham University)
Jacques François (emeritus Professor, Université de Caen)
Erich Steiner (Professor of English linguistics and Translation studies, Universität des Saarlandes)
Miriam Taverniers (Professor of English linguistics, Universiteit Gent)

Conference Website:
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; History of Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
LL Issue: 24.3966

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