Calls: Cross-culturally Speaking, Speaking Cross-culturally

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Mon Sep 15 14:14:22 UTC 2008

Cross-culturally Speaking, Speaking Cross-culturally

Date: 06-Jul-2009 - 08-Jul-2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact: Bert Peeters
Contact Email:

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

Meeting Description:

Conference Title: 'Cross-culturally Speaking, Speaking Cross-culturally'

Dates: 6-8 July 2009

Location: Macquarie University, Sydney

Organised by the Department of International Studies, Macquarie University
in cooperation with the Département des Sciences du Langage, Université
Montpellier 3

Organisational Board:

Bert Peeters (Chair), Brigitte Jandey, Marika Kalyuga, Martina Möllering,
Karin Speedy (all of Macquarie University); Christine Béal (Université
Montpellier 3)

Scientific Board:
Nathalie Auger (Université Montpellier 3), Astrid Berrier (Université du
Québec à Montréal), Christopher Candlin (Macquarie University), Françoise
Demougin (IUFM Montpellier), Jean-Marc Dewaele (Birkbeck College,
University of London), Cliff Goddard (University of New England),
Marie-Noëlle Guillot (University of East Anglia), Barbara Hanna (Queensland
University of Technology), Tony Liddicoat (University of South Australia),
Miranda Stewart (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow), Véronique Traverso
(Université Lyon 2), Jock Onn Wong (National University of Singapore)

Guest Speakers:

Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni (Université Lyon 2) - TBC
Claire Kramsch (University of California, Berkeley) - TBC
Anna Wierzbicka (Australian National University)

Conference Blurb:

Issues in cross-cultural communication have exercised the minds of
thousands of scholars world-wide and will no doubt continue to do so in the
foreseeable future. Cross-cultural communication is often relatively
unproblematic (as relatively unproblematic, that is, as communication
within cultures), but it is a well-known fact that problems do develop from
time to time and warrant the attention of linguists and applied linguists
alike. Cross-cultural pragmatic failure, as it has been called, occurs
because of insufficient knowledge, either of the formal rules of the
language in which an interaction takes place (rules that relate to its
lexicon, its phonetics, its syntax), or of more elusive aspects related to
implicit cultural norms and values, often not adequately taught in foreign
language classrooms. In the absence of appropriate cross-cultural
savoir-faire, it can have disastrous repercussions for interpersonal
relationships and lead to unhelpful stereotyping.

Like its predecessor, the July 2007 Montpellier conference on which it
seeks to build, the present gathering is part of an ongoing cooperative
agreement between our two institutions and will bring together a number of
scholars interested in gaining a better understanding, through the study of
actual communicative behaviour or otherwise, of the various linguistic and
pragmatic aspects of cross-cultural competence which are required for
communication across cultural boundaries to be successful. Presenters
wishing to analyze actual communicative behaviour may choose among the
following approaches:

1) A ''comparative'' approach which entails side-by-side observation of
native speakers using their respective native languages in similar contexts
or interactions. The comparative approach allows similarities and
differences in usage and expectations in pre-defined communicative contexts
to be brought into focus, and thus paves the way towards formulating
hypotheses on potentially sensitive points in cross-cultural situations.

2) A ''cross-cultural'' approach which entails analysis of contact
situations in which speakers belonging to different cultural backgrounds
interact with one another. The cross-cultural approach allows
identification of presumed obstacles in cross-cultural communication which
appear to generate misunderstanding or interpersonal clashes, and thus
paves the way towards the identification of underlying cultural values
which are relevant for one or more of the speakers but not for all.

3) A ''pedagogical'' approach which relies on observation of interlanguage
behaviour among peers, comparing it to native performance in similar
contexts or interactions. The pedagogical approach relies on simulations
and allows L1 interferences on L2 to be brought into focus and thus
complements findings achieved within a cross-cultural approach.

Regardless of the approach selected for a particular investigation,
presenters must make sure always to examine how the linguistic and cultural
aspects of verbal behaviour are intertwined. In addition, they are asked,
whenever possible, to go beyond a purely descriptive approach and to
envisage the theoretical and/or pedagogical implications their data may

Presentations will include those not based on concrete communicative behaviour
(i.e. the analysis of linguistic interaction using one of the
approaches mentioned
above) especially those that seek to engage with a newly developed
ethnolinguistic pathways model, preferably honouring its requirement to use the
natural semantic metalanguage developed by Anna Wierzbicka and Cliff Goddard.
The aim of the model is to facilitate the study of cultural values through
language, and provides researchers and advanced students alike with strategies
to gain a better knowledge of values using linguistic data. It seeks to
illustrate how and to what extent the detailed study of communicative behaviour
(ethnopragmatics), phrases (ethnophraseology), key words (ethnosemantics)
and productive syntactic patterns (ethnosyntax) can lead to the discovery
of putative cultural values which are then to become the subject of further
investigation leading to either the confirmation or the rejection of their
assumed status; and also how and to what extent, through a detailed study
of communicative behaviour, phrases, key words and productive syntactic
patterns, cultural values typically associated with a particular linguistic
community can be further corroborated (ethnoaxiology). More information on
the ethnolinguistic pathways model is available on:

Registration Fees
The following registration fees will apply:

Early bird (academic): AUD 200
Early bird (students / developing countries): AUD 100
Regular (academic): AUD 250
Regular (students / developing countries): AUD 125

Early bird rates will be available until April 30. Fees include morning and
afternoon tea, as well as lunch on each of the three conference days.

Information about accommodation will be made available at a later stage. We
will attempt to secure university college accommodation, but other options
will also be explored.

Concurrent Events

This conference takes place at about the same time as a series of other
events of international significance, organised in Sydney and Melbourne:

- July 8-10: 3rd Conference of the International Association for
Translation and Intercultural Studies (Monash University, Melbourne)

- July 10-12: Ethnography symposium (Macquarie University, Sydney;
organised by Christopher Candlin)

- July 12-17: 11th International Pragmatics Conference (Melbourne University)

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