LINGUIST List 26.928

Sat Feb 14 2015

Confs: General Linguistics, Linguistic Theories/USA

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 12-Feb-2015
From: Nancy Stern <>
Subject: 12th International Columbia School Conference
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12th International Columbia School Conference

Date: 14-Feb-2015 - 16-Feb-2015
Location: New York, New York, USA
Contact: Nancy Stern
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Linguistic Theories

Meeting Description:

The conference brings together scholars and graduate students doing work under the theoretical framework first developed at Columbia University by the late William Diver. Columbia School linguists views language as a symbolic tool whose structure is shaped both by its communicative function and by the characteristics of its human users. In this functional and semiotic conception of language, the sign is proposed as the basic structural unit: a signal paired with a meaning. Signal-meaning hypotheses are tested against actual usage and are often supported by quantitative predictions in texts. This mode of explanation is goal-directed rather than formal because the choice of a sign, either grammatical or lexical, is explained in terms of what the language user is attempting to accomplish. The model is inferential rather than compositional, as messages are more than the sum of their semantic parts. Language use is seen as creative in the everyday sense of that word.


The conference program can be found at

Page Updated: 14-Feb-2015