27.3609, Confs: Anthro Ling, Disc Analysis, Gen Ling, Pragmatics, Typology/UK

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LINGUIST List: Vol-27-3609. Tue Sep 13 2016. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 27.3609, Confs: Anthro Ling, Disc Analysis, Gen Ling, Pragmatics, Typology/UK

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Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:02:00
From: Laura Visapää [laura.visapaa at helsinki.fi]
Subject: Construal of Person in Interaction: a Cross-Linguistic Comparison

 
Construal of Person in Interaction: a Cross-Linguistic Comparison 

Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017 
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 
Contact: Laura Visapää 
Contact Email: laura.visapaa at helsinki.fi 
Meeting URL: http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE15&n=1510 

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; General Linguistics; Pragmatics; Typology 

Meeting Description: 

Referring to people can be seen as a universal characteristic of human social
organization (Enfield & Stivers 2007), but person systems in languages offer
remarkably different strategies for construing person. In terms of grammar,
person systems differ, for instance, with respect to number, clusivity and
gender marking, as well as the ways in which they express impersonality or
distinguish between human vs. non-human participants or speech act vs. non
speech act persons (Siewierska 2004). There has been a great number of
research on these grammatical properties in Indo-European languages, but a
cross-cultural, empirical study of the construal of person in interaction
opens up new perspectives into the ways in which, for instance, agency and
experience are organized and distributed. 

For this panel, we invite presentations that focus on the empirical study of
the construal of person in interaction. The panel aims at a cross-cultural
perspective that sheds light on the interdependencies between culture, social
action and language use. We aim to find similarities in the ways in which
participants organize joint-action as a constant ''fission-fusion'' process
between the “I”, the “you”, the “we”, and the “they” (Enfield 2013).
Simultaneously, we want to explore the different ways in which agency and
experience are organized and distributed in the studied languages.

The Finnish person system, for instance, is similar to many European languages
in that it comprises three persons and the 1st person plural form makes no
distinction between inclusive and exclusive reference. However, Finnish
organizes person differently compared to many other European languages
(Helasvuo & Laitinen 2006). First, it has a personal passive that always
implies a human agent performing the action and is typically used for
expressing first person plural actions (Helasvuo 2006). Second, it has a zero
person construction with no overt subject where the predicate verb appears in
the third person singular form. The reference of a zero-person form can be
interpreted as specific or non-specific: it offers an open space for shared
experience that anyone can enter (Laitinen 2006). Unlike the passive, whose
implied agent is typically collective, the implied agent of a zero is an
individual, i.e. it treats its referents distributively (Etelämäki & Herlin
forthc.). Third, in standard Finnish, the person is marked on finite verbs;
therefore it is possible to leave out an overt pronominal subject.

We encourage the view of emancipatory pragmatics (Hanks et al. 2009) in the
analyses of person systems. A key assumption in this approach is that
pragmatics has been dominated by Euro-American languages and ways of speaking,
and that to overcome this bias, there should be more comparative work on a
wider range of languages, which would allow the possibility for other ways of
describing language. The panel is a continuation of the panel ''I, you, we and
the others: dynamic construal of intersubjectivities in grammar and in
interaction'' (IPrA 2015).

For further queries, please contact Laura Visapää (laura.visapaa at helsinki)
before October 1 2016.

Conference website: http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE15&n=1510

Panel Organisers:

Laura Visapää, University of Helsinki
Marja Etelämäki, University of Oslo
Ilona Herlin, University of Helsinki
 






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