This volume resulted from the first Interfaces in Language conference held
at the University of Kent, England, as a result of the need perceived for
the orthodox distinctions made between the various perceived divisions in
language study, e.g. syntax vs. semantics vs. pragmatics vs. phonology vs.
morphology, to be expanded into a wider concept of linguistic interfaces,
for example language and music, language and politics, languages in mutual
contact, languages in mutual conflict, and language and literature.
Potential contributors at the conference were encouraged to define and
explore the particular interfaces which interested them, to see where there
was common ground, where distinctions were to be made and where grey areas
invite further investigation. The results were startling: contributors
responded from America, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel,
Poland, Spain and Switzerland as well as the UK, with themes ultimately
grouped under three headings which have been roughly retained in this volume.
Many of the wide range of resultant perspectives are represented here, as
well as those treated by colleagues prevented at the last moment from
attending the conference. Categories and Orthodoxies addresses some of the
most traditional interfaces, whilst Contact and Conflict examines clashes
and coalescences between languages, languages and politics, the mutual
interaction of variants of a language and the imposition or choice of a
non-native language over its native counterparts; and Language and
Cognition sees language behaviour as partly at least influenced by factors
other than those formally identified as strictly linguistic.