LINGUIST List 31.408

Wed Jan 29 2020

Calls: English;French;Romanian; Applied Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Language Acquisition, Pragmatics, Syntax/Romania

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 27-Jan-2020
From: Razvan SAFTOIU <>
Subject: 6th International Conference Structure, Use and Meaning. Action and Agency in Language Use
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Full Title: 6th International Conference Structure, Use and Meaning. Action and Agency in Language Use
Short Title: SUM 2020

Date: 17-Sep-2020 - 19-Sep-2020
Location: Brasov, Romania
Contact Person: Razvan Saftoiu
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Syntax

Subject Language(s): English; French; Romanian

Call Deadline: 31-May-2020

Meeting Description:

The 6th edition of the conference Structure, Use and Meaning (SUM) takes place in Brașov (Romania) between 17-19 September 2020 and aims to bring together researchers and practitioners in a meaningful dialogue, in order to synthesise different strands of existing academic research.

The concepts of action and of agency have recently received systematic attention in various domains, such as Linguistics, Philosophy, Anthropology or even Psychology, but interest in these concepts started a long time ago, with Aristotelian ethics. Despite their long existence in Linguistics, these concepts are still very difficult to define (see Cruse 1973). Duranti (2007, 453) put forward the following definition of agency: “the property of those entities (i) that have some degree of control over their own behaviour, (ii) whose actions in the world affect other entities’ (and sometimes their own), and (iii) whose actions are the object of evaluation(e.g. in terms of their responsibility for a given outcome)”. From a semantical-syntactic point of view (Verstiggel and Denhière 1990, 37), agency is related to the semantic role of Agent and to the concept of control. Irrespective of whether language is discussed as a system of signs or as a form of social action, as a means for doing things, a cultural resource, and a set of socio-cultural practices, we put forward the idea that natural language use has a complex architecture and the focus should be on “human beings who use language in dialogic interactions” (Weigand 2017, 3). By placing emphasis on language-as-dialogue, the turning point from pragmatics to dialogue opens up the scene for negotiation between speaker and listener in a game of action and reaction, allowing interactants to do many different things with words, according to their needs and purposes. Thus, language is seen as a complex communicative system used by humans who need to adapt to the ever-changing real-life situations, because “through linguistic communication, we display our attitudes, feelings, beliefs, and wishes”(Duranti 2004, 452).

Call for Papers:

We welcome contributions dealing with agency, an inherently human capacity to (re)act, from the point of view of syntax,semantics, pragmatics, rhetoric, dialogue studies, discourse analysis, or intercultural and foreign/second language instruction.

The official languages for the presentations are English, French and German.

Papers will be allotted 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for discussion.

Abstract submission guidelines:
Abstracts should include:
1. The title of the paper
2. A list of 3-5 key words describing the area and focus
3. The name(s) of the author(s) and their affiliation(s)
4. The e-mail address and contact details of the author(s).
Abstracts should be between 250-300 words and should be sent via e-mail attachments to the
following address:

The abstract submission deadline is 31 May 2020 and the notification of acceptance will be received by 30 June 2020.

Page Updated: 29-Jan-2020