Workshop on Cognitive Sociolinguistics

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Sep 22 13:40:08 UTC 2006

Forwarded from Linguist-List,

Full Title: Cognitive Sociolinguistics

Date: 15-Jul-2007 - 20-Jul-2007
Location: Krakow, Poland
Contact Person: Yves Peirsman
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Call Deadline: 31-Oct-2006

Meeting Description:

Theme Session on Cognitive Sociolinguistics at the 10th International
Cognitive Linguistics Conference.

First Call for Papers for a Theme Session at the 10th International
Cognitive Linguistics Conference

Theme: Cognitive Sociolinguistics

Dirk Geeraerts, University of Leuven, dirk.geeraerts [at]
Gitte Kristiansen, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, gkristia [at]
Yves Peirsman, University of Leuven, yves.peirsman [at]

10th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference
Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
15-20 July 2007


Although there is a growing interest within Cognitive Linguistics for
language-internal variation (see Kristiansen and Dirven, forthcoming:
Cognitive Sociolinguistics, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), it remains an
understudied area in Cognitive Linguistics. Too often linguistic analyses
(or cross-linguistic comparisons) are carried out at the level of 'a
language', disregarding rich and complex patterns of intralingual
variation. Such a level of granularity ultimately amounts to that of a
homogeneous and thus idealized speech community. Cognitive Linguistics, to
the extent that it takes the claim that it is a usage-based approach to
language and cognition seriously, cannot afford to work with language
situated taxonomically at an almost Chomskyan level of abstraction. The
purpose of the theme session is therefore to bring together examples of
outstanding sociolinguistic research within the field of Cognitive

The Scope of Cognitive Sociolinguistics:

The domain of investigation of Cognitive Sociolinguistics may be roughly
divided into three main areas, each of which represents a specific
relationship between cognition and language-internal linguistic diversity
(which we will henceforth refer to as ''lectal variation''). We invite
abstracts for presentations in all three areas:

1. Lectal Variation and Knowledge of the Language:

How does language-internal variation affect the occurrence of linguistic
phenomena, and in particular, how does it affect the occurrence of
linguistic phenomena that have the specific attention of Cognitive
Linguistics? The question involves not only active knowledge of the
language (i.e. language use), but also passive knowledge (i.e. reading and
understanding skills).

Existing examples of Cognitive Linguistic work in this area may be found
in Berthele's work on verbal framing in the Swiss dialects, the work by
Gries and Stefanowitsch on register variation in collostructions, and
Croft's views on the importance of social variation for a theory of
linguistic change.

Topics of specific interest within this domain of research include:

- lectal factors in language acquisition: how does the change in an
individual's knowledge of the language interact with social factors?
- language variation and change: how do changes spread over a linguistic
community, what is the role of distributed linguistic cognition in these
processes, and how does the feedback loop between individual acts and
common systemic changes actually work?
- multivariate models of language variation: what analytical and
descriptive tools do we need to arrive at an adequate description of
linguistic variation?

2. Lectal Variation, Language and Thought:

A lot of front-edge research is looking into the relationship between
language and thought (Slobin, Bowerman etc.), but this is basically done
from an interlingual (typological) point of view. What happens if you
conduct similar research from an intralingual point of view? Does lectal
variation have the same effect on the relationship between language and
thought as typological variation?

Although this is only an emerging trend, a clear example of Cognitive
Linguistic work in this area is Grondelaers' work on the psycholinguistic
correlates of the multifactorial distribution of Dutch ''er''.

Topics of specific interest within this domain of research involve:

- the relationship between language and culture: do language-internal
differences in the relationship between language and thought reflect
differences of ''culture'' ?
- the relationship between cultural models and thought: to what extent
does variation in cultural models within a community correlate with
cognitive differences?

3. The Cognitive Representation of Lectal Variation:

How do language users perceive lectal differences, and how do they
evaluate them attitudinally? What models do they use to categorize
linguistic diversity?

Examples of this kind of work within the framework of Cognitive
Linguistics are Kristiansen's work on the socially informed prototype
structure of phonemes, or Geeraerts' work on cultural models of

Topics of specific interest within this domain of research include:

- stereotyping: how do language users categorize other groups of speakers?
- subjective and objective linguistic distances: is there a correlation
between objective linguistic distances, perceived distances, and language
- cultural models of language diversity: what models of lectal variation,
standardization, and language change do people work with?
- attitudes, perception, and change: to what extent do attitudinal and
perceptual factors have an influence on language change?

Structure of the Session:

Our theme session will consist of:
(1) presentations of the selected papers,
(2) presentations by a number of invited specialists,
(3) three 20-minute thematic discussion slots.


We invite abstracts of max. 500 words for 20-minute presentations in the
three areas described above. Your abstract should contain:

- The title of the presentation;
- Your name(s), affiliation(s) and e-mail address(es);
- The research question(s) that you address;
- A discussion of the methodology;
- A description of the data;
- A summary of the obtained results.

Abstracts should be sent to all three theme session organisers before
October 31, 2006.


Deadline call for abstracts: October 31, 2006
Notification of acceptance/rejection of abstracts: November 15, 2006
Submission of the theme session proposal to the conference organisers:
November 15, 2006
Notification of acceptance/rejection of theme session: February 1, 2007

For up-to-date information about the theme session, see


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