LINGUIST List 31.2504

Fri Aug 07 2020

Calls: Anthro Ling, Cog Sci, Disc Analys, Pragmatics, Socioling/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 06-Aug-2020
From: Rea Peltola <>
Subject: Language use in human-animal communities
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Full Title: Language use in human-animal communities

Date: 27-Jun-2021 - 02-Jul-2021
Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Contact Person: Mika Simonen
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 25-Oct-2020

Meeting Description:

Language use in human-animal communities: towards interspecies pragmatics

IPrA 2021 Special theme ''Pragmatics of inclusion''

Panel organizers: Rea Peltola (Université de Caen Normandie), Mika Simonen (University of Helsinki)

This panel investigates the interactional and conceptual organization of interspecies communities from a linguistic perspective. Urgent concerns about the state of our environment and the position of non-human beings within contemporary societies have made manifest the need for reflecting on ethical, cultural and social issues related to human-animal relationships. These considerations go alongside growing biological knowledge about the cognitive, communicative and emotional capacities of different species. Various interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities and the social sciences (Human-Animal Studies, Posthumanism, Ecocriticism, Biosemiotics) have shown that the faculty of speech and language has been used as one of the most important grounds for separating humans from other living beings and that power relations based on this dualism are sustained by language use (e.g., Stibbe 2012). By undoing conceptual hierarchies and boundaries between humans and other living creatures, animal philosophies have revealed the possible existence of local interspecies communities with shared interests and meanings.

In this wider context of reconsidering the human-animal relationships and the status of language within them, the aim of this panel is to explore language use in everyday interaction and cohabitation between humans and other living beings. The panel welcomes contributions from different theoretical and methodological approaches that may, but are not restricted to, focus on:

- The linguistic strategies adopted by human speakers when addressing a member of another species: Are there expressions or ways of speaking reserved for non-human addressees? What kind of an interface separates the “human-to-human language” from the “human-to-non-human language” (Mitchell 2001)?

- The social actions accomplished by participants in interspecies interaction: How do human and non-human participants display their orientation to the sequential environment and to each other as participants (Goode 2006, Roberts 2004)? To what extent do humans engage in “mind-reading” (Levinson 2006) when producing responses to actions in interspecies interaction?

- The ways in which the plurality of perceptual universes (von Uexküll 1982) and semiotic webs (Kohn 2013) is linguistically construed: How can language structures serve as a support when human speakers seek to understand and describe non-human actions and states? What can we say about “human” and “non-human” categories and conceptualizations when looking at grammatical constructions in actual language use (Goatly 1996, Sealey 2018)?

- The connections and the tensions between private and public animal talk: What kind of cultural, political and ideological factors shape the ways in which humans talk about other species?

Call for Papers:

Please submit your abstract of 250-500 words via the IPrA conference website by October 25, 2020:
For submission instructions, see
For further information, feel free to contact the panel organizers.

Page Updated: 07-Aug-2020