CRITICS: Language and Media - AILA Scientific Commission

Kay P Richardson kay100 at
Wed Mar 20 10:24:53 UTC 1996

You may be interested to hear about a new venture within AILA - the International
Association for Applied Linguistics.  It includes an invitation to be included on the mailing

New AILA Scientific Commission: Language and the Media

This new Scientific Commission in the field of Language and the Media represents a growing
and developing area of applied linguistics, highly interdisciplinary,but as yet a fragmented one
within its various national and trans-national traditions. Some of this work has focused
especially upon specific genres, such as news discourse, documentary genres, advertising etc.
Increasingly,there is a recognition that language does not stand alone in any type of mass
communication, but interacts with other semiotic modes, especially the visual. Within media
studies itself, there has been a longstanding interest in questions of communicative form,
including linguistic form. The intensively developed field of reception analysis, with its concern
for the role of the audience in mass communication, has become more attentive to the ways in
which viewers talk about media texts. These developments have had interesting theoretical as
well as substantive implications, generating much debate around the respective roles of 'the
text' and 'the reader' as the source of meaning-production. One of the mostinteresting questions
at the present is whether text-centered and reader-centered theoretical perspectives could or
need be combined. At the same time, the growth and development of new technologies
(particularly direct broadcasting by satellite and the Internet), have already begun to affect the
communicative forms of the mass media. and there is an important role for linguistic analysis in
the exploration of these. The objectives of the Scientific Commission are as follows:
To operate as a basis for the exchange of information on media language research worldwide.
We are in process of establishing a dedicated e-mail list as well as postal links. For names
and addresses of convenors see below.

To create a forum for researchers from linguistics and other disciplines whose aim is the
exploration and study of media texts, in accordance with the rationale offered in the previous

To facilitate international comparisons between different frameworks of media production and
consumption, as well as between different methodological approaches to the study of media
language. Within an international context, to allow for collaborative research between
researchers in different countries.

Joint convenors of this commission are Ulrike Meinhof and Kay Richardson.

Professor Ulrike Meinhof Department of Modern Languages University of Bradford West
Yorkshire, BD7 lDP England Tel.:01274 384572 Fax: 01274 385590 email:
u.h.meinhof at

Dr Kay Richardson Dept of Communication Studies University of Liverpoo Liverpool L69 3BX
England Tel.: 0151 794 2655 Fax: 0151 794 3948 email: kayl00 at
We are hoping to hear from anyone interested in joining this Commission. Please contact us
by mail, e-mail or fax with some details about yourself and your academic interests.

Forthcoming activities organised by the convenors:

 AILA , University of Jyvdskyld, Finland, 4-9 August 96
Our first official meeting will take place at the AILA 1996 Congress; Jyvdskyld, in conjunction
with a Symposium with the title Key Concepts in the Study of Language and the Media;.Details
of the time and place will appear with the conference programme.  Information about the
planned programme for the Symposium is attached.

Sociolinguistic Symposium  5-7th September 96, University of Wales, Cardiff
A workshop on Media Discourse will take place during this conference.

AILA symposium

Key concepts in the study of Language and the Media

Chair: Ulrike Meinhof and Kay Richardson

The aim of this Symposium is to bring together a range of papers in the fast-developing field of
research on media language.  Key contributors to the Symposium include: Ulrike Meinhof
(University of Bradford); Kay Richardson (Universisty of Liverpool); David Graddol (Open
University); Theo van Leeuwen (University of London); John Corner (University of Liverpool);
Tatiana Dobrosklonskaya (Moscow State University); Werner Hollly (University of Chemnitz)

The planned papers are as follows:

1	Ulrike Meinhof and Kay Richardson: Texts and readers - an overview
2	Theo van Leeuwen: Multimodality in media texts: towards a typology
3	John Corner: Verisimilitude and veracity in documentary discourse - a challenge to
the study of media language.
4	Werner Holly: The Communicative Appropriation of Television
5	Tatiana Dobrosklonskaya: Cross-cultural analysis of the English-language editions in
Russia - The Moscow Times and The Moscow Tribune.
6	David Graddol: New technology and the readers construction of the text
7	Kay Richardson and Ulrike Meinhof: New mediations of time and space - satelllite TV
in the UK and Germany.

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