From: Minna Nevala <minna.nevalahelsinki.fi>
Subject: Workshop on Discourse Perspectives on Person Reference
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Workshop on Discourse Perspectives on Person Reference
Date: 23-Aug-2010 - 27-Aug-2010
Location: Pécs, Hungary
Contact: Minna Nevala
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Semantics; Syntax
People are one of the most central topics of discussion in everyday discourse. Consequently, texts abound with person reference, but the frequency and type of reference varies. Cultural practices, politeness norms, genre/textual conventions and situation-specific communicative needs influence the ways we use to refer to people. Whether we call our interlocutor you or your highness carries a lot of social meaning as does referring to a colleague as Mary or Professor Smith. The meanings are both situation specific and may reflect the speaker's personal orientations but they also stem from a societal system of established hierarchies and social distinctions. Similarly, whether we can talk about ourselves or refer to the interlocutor or third parties in particular contexts and what we can say is a matter of interpersonal negotiation on several levels. In addition to synchronically varying patterns of use, aspects of person reference may change in time.
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together research on person reference, including pronominal systems and other referring mechanisms, from various different areas, including e.g. syntactic, semantic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic scopes of linguistic study. One of the possible aims adjoining the studies presented is to show how person reference works towards placing individuals in the broad societal framework of appropriate social roles and relations, creating a certain type of a text genre and expressing the writer's persona and local communicative needs. In other words, we wish to understand how the choice of person reference relates to micro-interactional contextual needs, genre and macro-societal structures alike and how systems of person reference may change in particular contexts over time.
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