LINGUIST List 31.2929

Mon Sep 28 2020

Calls: Hist Ling, Pragmatics, Socioling, Text/Corpus Ling/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 25-Sep-2020
From: Giulia Mazzola <>
Subject: The discourse grammar of communicative distance
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Full Title: The discourse grammar of communicative distance

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

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Call Deadline: 25-Oct-2020

Meeting Description:

Panel Organizers:
Bert Cornillie (KU Leuven)
Giulia Mazzola (KU Leuven)
Lola Pons Rodríguez (Universidad de Sevilla)
Álvaro Octavio de Toledo y Huerta (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Over the last decades, the continuum between communicative immediacy and communicative distance has been a much-debated topic in Romance linguistics (Koch & Oesterreicher 1990; Kabatek 2005; López Serena 2020). Moreover, research on the various discourse traditions along this continuum has led to a more refined description of the anchoring of linguistic subsystems in certain communicative and sociolinguistic contexts. Whereas the bulk of pragmatic-linguistic research has focussed on discourse settings of the communicative immediacy, accounts of the grammar and pragmatics of communicative distance are scarcer. The role of normative models emerging in the communicative distance should not be underestimated, in that they often yield lasting innovations in the linguistic system. Therefore, the proposed thematic panel aims to discuss the grammar and pragmatics of linguistic variants typical of the communicative distance from several perspectives: language change, historical sociolinguistics, and scripturalness.

Language change. Recently, research has shown that the poles of communicative immediacy and distance both foster language change. As for the former, linguistic changes have often been addressed in terms of inference-invited semantic change (Traugott & Dasher 2007; Traugott 2018). However, change from distance settings turns out to be common too (Cornillie & Octavio de Toledo y Huerta 2015; Cornillie 2019; Pons Rodríguez 2020). Several aspects are still unresolved:
- What are the most common models of inspiration for the grammar of distance?
- In the case of new expressions based on prestigious languages (e.g. Latin, French, English), via which discourse traditions do they typically actualize?
- How does a grammar of distance emerge? Which processes of selection and innovation characterize this domain?

Historical sociolinguistics and audience design. Usage patterns may also vary depending on the intended audience of texts (Bell 2001; Octavio de Toledo y Huerta 2011) and social (a)symmetries between writer and audience lead to the selection of marked variants (cf. Mazzola et al. 2020). Yet, the limits of variation within the communicative distance is a matter of discussion. The following issues need to be addressed:
- How can a typology of intended audiences of texts be determined?
- How does the writer-addressee relationship shape style-shifting within the texts of communicative distance?
- What types of morphosyntactic and pragmatic markers are used to signal audience-induced style-shifting?

Scripturalness as language elaboration. The enduring prestige of linguistic forms usually depends on their relation to the written language. Many vernacular expressions that appear both in the immediacy and the distance originated in spoken interaction and shifted to the written communication, acquiring a higher degree of scripturalness. Various questions require further investigation:
- What are the mechanisms behind advanced written language elaboration? Is it due to competition between layering forms?
- What role do canonized writers play in previous stages of a language? Is there a methodologically sound way of measuring their impact on the language of the past?
- Does the reverse process also occur? Do linguistic forms that used to be restricted to the communicative distance shift to the language of immediacy? What can we learn from the (mutual) diachronic exchange between the two poles?

Call for Papers:

We are pleased to invite talk proposals for a panel “The discourse grammar of communicative distance” at the 17th International Pragmatics Conference, Winterthur, Switzerland, 27 June - 2 July 2021.

Submitted abstracts should take the form of a brief abstract (min. 250 and max. 500 words, excluding references).

Please submit your paper abstract through the conference website ( by 25 October 2020. When submitting your abstract to the conference website, make sure to select “The discourse grammar of communicative distance” as the panel for your submission. For full submission instructions, please see: Please note that you will have to become a member of the International Pragmatics Association in order to submit a paper abstract to the conference. For further information contact the organizers.

Bell, Allan. 2001. Back in style: Reworking audience design. In Penelope Eckert & John R. Rickford (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation, 139–169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cornillie, Bert. 2019. On Grammatical Change and Discourse Environments. In Paloma Núñez Pertejo, María José López-Couso, Belén Méndez-Naya & Javier Pérez-Guerra (eds.), Crossing linguistic boundaries: systemic, synchronic and diachronic variation in English, 105–125. London : New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.
Cornillie, Bert & Álvaro Octavio de Toledo y Huerta. 2015. The diachrony of subjective amenazar ‘threaten’. On Latin-induced grammaticalization in Spanish. In Andrew DM Smith, Graeme Trousdale & Richard Waltereit (eds.), New Directions in Grammaticalization Research, vol. 166, 187–208. John Benjamins; Amsterdam - Philadelphia.
Kabatek, Johannes. 2005. Tradiciones discursivas y cambio lingüístico. Lexis: Revista de lingüística y literatura 29(2). 151–177.
Koch, Peter & Wulf Oesterreicher. 1990. Gesprochene Sprache in der Romania: Französisch, Italienisch, Spanisch (Romanistische Arbeitshefte 31). Tübingen: Niemeyer.
López Serena, Araceli. 2020. Algunas cuestiones pendientes en el modelo distancia vs. inmediatez. Los parámetros situacionales que determinan las formas de la variación concepcional. In Teresa Gruber, Klaus Grübl, Katharina Jakob, Thomas Scharinger & Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH & Co. KG (eds.), Was bleibt von kommunikativer Nähe und Distanz? Mediale und konzeptionelle Aspekte von Diskurstraditionen und sprachlichem Wandel.
Mazzola, Giulia, Bert Cornillie, Malte Rosemeyer & Stefano De Pascale. 2020. Socio-stylistic aspects of syntactic variation: the case of Spanish asyndetic complementation between the 15th and the 18th century. Conference presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea.
Octavio de Toledo y Huerta, Alvaro. 2011. Santa Teresa y la mano visible. Sobre las variantes sintácticas del Camino de perfección. In Mónica Castillo Lluch & Lola Pons Rodríguez (eds.), Así se van las lenguas variando: nuevas tendencias en la investigacíon del cambio lingüistico en español (Fondo Hispánico de Lingüística y Filología v. 5), 241–304. Bern ; New York: Peter Lang.
Pons Rodríguez, Lola. 2020. In substance, they came from above. On the acquisition of discourse particles in Medieval Spanish. In Jorge Fernandez Jaen & Herminia Provencio Garrigós (eds.), Changes in Meaning and Function, 222–235. John Benjamins Publishing Company. (29 June, 2020).
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2018. Rethinking the Role of Invited Inferencing in Change from the Perspective of Interactional Texts. Open Linguistics. De Gruyter 4(1). 19–34.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Richard B. Dasher. 2007. Regularity in semantic change (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 97). Digital print. Cambridge: university press.

Page Updated: 28-Sep-2020