LINGUIST List 24.5307

Wed Dec 18 2013

Calls: Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, General Linguistics, Historical Linguistics/Poland

Editor for this issue: Bryn Hauk <>

Date: 18-Dec-2013
From: Valentina Russo <>
Subject: Language, Ideology and Their Representations: Textual and Pragmatic Features
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Full Title: Language, Ideology and Their Representations: Textual and Pragmatic Features Short Title: L&I
Date: 11-Sep-2014 - 14-Sep-2014 Location: Poznań, Poland Contact Person: Alberto Manco
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics

Call Deadline: 15-Jan-2014

Meeting Description:

The scope of the workshop is to bring together scholars and researchers interested in the relationship between language and ideology, from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective, focusing in particular on textual and pragmatic strategies. Comparing oral and written communication media, the workshop seeks to highlight their common or parallel features in expressing such a deep feeling as the ideological one, trying to grasp language in its diamesic continuum.

Special guest: Norbert Dittmar (Freie Universität zu Berlin) - Slot for final discussion and conclusion.


Alberto Manco (University of Naples 'L'Orientale')
Valentina Russo (Humboldt University Berlin)
Azzurra Mancini (University of Naples 'L'Orientale')


The study of the relationship between language and ideology has for a long time been an important part of rhetorical, anthropological and ethnographic studies before gaining pace in linguistic-anthropological studies thus influencing several linguistic fields (Woolard, 1998). Consequently, the issue has been developed from many different angles. Focusing on the manifestation of such relationship in oral and written communication, we see that “language ideology” research has so far predominantly been conducted from different perspectives depending on the value assigned to the concept of “ideology”.

What is actually ideology? How far is this concept culture-dependent? And, finally, in what extent can the above mentioned relationship be ascribed to language in itself or to the very willingness of speakers?

Though the term “ideology” traces back to late 18th Century France, it has been used to point at different functions and meanings at different times (cf. Thompson, 1990). One of the first occurrences in linguistics was strictly tied to the materialistic vision of Marx and Engels, to which were then opposed the so-called “immunization strategies” (s. Dittmar, 1982).

Starting from Silverstein's approach (1979; 2004) – and thus considering that there is no “neutral” language or language use – we focus on the ideological function of language that is central in contextualized language use (cf. Gumperz, 2002), in order to grasp the metapragmatic level in which linguistic-ideological features are so deeply rooted in (Silverstein, 1993). Shifting the focus from “stable” linguistic denotations to “unstable” socio-culturally and historically determined issues of language use, we deserve attention to texts and pragmatics. In fact, texts – both in their construction and transmission processes – result in complexes of “ordered” (Silverstein, 2003) indexical triggers activating specific sociocultural framings of the world (as noticed by Blommaert, 2006), thus allowing linguists to focus on the pragmatics aspects of language use. As a matter of fact, language appears to be one of the most important means of dominance and power (s., a.o., Habermas, 1977: 259 and 1983; Apel, 1992), fundamental in the construction of what Bourdieu (1980) used to call habitus (s. also Bourdieu, 1982).

Attention has been paid to grasping overt and covert manifestations of ideology in language from a diachronic as well as from a synchronic point of view, ranging from historical linguistics to discourse analysis, from lexicology and lexicography to grammar and normativity. While overt ideology can be seen in the explicit use of particular words or rhetorical structures (e.g. in nationalisms, dictatorships, identity construction and differentiation, and so on), covert ideology is mainly something people are not aware of. This is clear if we think about “unaware” stigmatisation of a.o. dialects, minority languages and lower varieties, or about a sort of eurocentrism people implicitly express in everyday contexts. Moreover, we should take into account the role of the “spirit of the time”, of a Zeitgeist which act on language independently of people's willingness (Manco, 2013; Russo, 2013; Albano Leoni, forth.).

Theoretical and Methodological Framework:

The ambition of this workshop is to discuss how we can use the results of textual and pragmatic studies to grasp the relationship between language and ideology in the linguistic manifestation of the continuous tension between awareness and unawareness in different times and communication genres. Adopting a diachronic as well as a diamesic perspective, the Workshop seeks to highlight the common or parallel features that can be remarked in expressing such a deep feeling as the ideological one.

In this perspective the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) has proved, in the last twenty years, to be a suitable framework for the investigation of such a wide concept as ideology, being “problem-” instead of “approach-oriented”. Among others, we refer in this workshop to the work of scholars such as Wodak (2013; Wodak et al. 1990, 1993; Weiss & Wodak, 2003) and van Dijk (1991, 1993, 1998), who point out the importance of interdisciplinary work and of the common goal of making linguistics results available for the society in terms of practice and application, demystifying discourses by deciphering ideologies (Wodak, 2001).

In line with CDA, we stress the importance of textual and pragmatic analysis for the investigation of maintenance and breakdown of linguistic-ideological complexes in socio-cultural systems. As Wodak points out, “an important perspective in CDA is that a text is very rarely the work of a single person. In texts, discursive differences are negotiated. They are governed by differences in power that are themselves in part encoded in and determined by discourse and by genre. Therefore texts are often sites of struggle, in that they show traces of differing discourses and ideologies contending and struggling for dominance” (Wodak, 2001: 5).

2nd Call for Papers:

Workshop at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea
Language, ideology and their representations: Textual and pragmatic features

We call for papers working on different perspectives on language and ideology and addressing specific communicative and/or textual genres such as:

- Scientific or popularization literature
- Comics
- (Micro)political discourse
- Private or institutional popularization media
- Advertisement
- Everyday speech (and other many issues; see for example Toolan, 2002)

Since CDA is not associated with a specific school of linguistics or discourse analysis, we would welcome investigations that are not pre-biased toward one or other theoretical approach, but that take into account the importance of the integration of the analyses with historical context description and interpretation, looking at the subject from an inside perspective.

The final discussion of the workshop will be used to verify in which way the linguistic findings presented in the different papers can be brought together to reveal the deep layers of language-ideology relationship despite any differentiation in subjects, methods and possible applications. The social and methodological significance of the collected results will be, finally, pointed out by the convenors with the participation of Norbert Dittmar, aiming at bringing evidence of how “one of the effects of addressing language ideology is the fact that it dislodges a range of established concepts and categories and thus offers infinite opportunities for revisiting existing scholarship” (Blommaert, 2006: 510).

Scholars, researchers and PhD students interested in presenting a paper should upload their abstract individually via the Submit Abstract form:

When uploading your abstract, make sure to tick the box 'oral presentation in workshop' and to mention the name of the workshop in the title-box.

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 January 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by email by 31 March 2014.

Layout requirements:


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Page Updated: 18-Dec-2013