Appel: Discours, Special issue on Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Signalling Text Organisation

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Tue Mar 22 20:55:58 UTC 2011

Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 17:18:28 +0100
From: mad2010 at
Message-ID: <20110321171828.mkz0vtcaskc8ggck at>

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Special issue on 'Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Signalling Text
Following MAD 2010 conference

Call for papers

The interdisciplinary journal Discours (
opens a call for papers for a special issue on 'Multidisciplinary
Perspectives on Signalling Text Organisation', the theme of the MAD'10
workshop held in March 2010 in Moissac, France
( Workshop participants are
warmly invited to submit, but this call is open to anyone interested.
MAD stands for Multidisciplinary Approaches to Discourse. Accordingly,
this special issue seeks to bring together studies from different
disciplines interested in discourse and discourse processing:
linguistics, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, educational
and cognitive psychology, ergonomics and document design, semiotics,
information and communication sciences, typography, etc.  Signalling
text organisation refers to the observation that within texts, certain
features or elements seem to have a special instructional role with
regard to text organisation. These text organisation signalling
devices have been described under a variety of names: signals,
structure indicators, advance organisers, discourse markers, layout
properties, surface structure features, organisational cues, stylistic
writing devices and so on. Their scope ranges from a very local level
to a more global one. Their nature is also very diverse:

1. linguistic: words (e.g. connectives), phrases (e.g. emphasis
   phrases), sentences (meta-discourse sentences) and beyond
   (overviews, summaries);

2. graphic: typographical and spatial variation (e.g. paragraph
   breaks, boldface);

3. hybrid (e.g. enumerations, headings, tables of contents, links and  
   pop-up windows in electronic documents);

4. more elusively: first mention, length or repetition of particular
   text units, structural parallelism.

Different disciplines have taken an interest in these devices, either
as a core object of study or as an element to be taken into account.
As a consequence, research concerned with the signalling of text
organisation is far from constituting a unified field. The notion of
signal itself may be associated with different key concepts according
to discipline and models: document structure, discourse organisation,
layout structure, text architecture, etc. As far as function is
concerned, they may be seen as discourse construction devices, traces
of metalinguistic segments, as reading or processing instructions, as
traces of the writer's cognitive processes, or as cues revealing the
author's intentions, etc.

Since the 1970's, research into the signalling of text organisation
has produced considerable results. The environment for this research
is at present undergoing a twofold transformation: first, new methods
are appearing, linked to technological advances (corpus linguistics,
natural language processing, eye movement recording techniques for the
analysis of cognitive processes during reading, etc.); second, new
fields of application are opening (in connection with the expanding
use of digital documents in the professional and educational worlds).
In this new context, novel research questions open up, requiring the
integration of contributions from different disciplines or fields of

We invite contributions on topics and questions such as the following
(the list may be extended):

          - What are text signals and what role do they play?
                 - reader's viewpoint
                 - writer's viewpoint
                 - analyst's viewpoint
          - What may be relevant theoretical models and methods of
            data collection and analysis to study the signalling of
            text organisation and its cognitive effects ?
                - naturalist approaches and corpus studies
                - empirical approaches
                - micro vs. macro approaches
                - inter- and pluridisciplinary approaches
          - Text signals and literacy
          - Text signals in document design, natural language
            processing and language technologies

We welcome different types of contributions: literature reviews,
theoretical and methodological considerations, reports of empirical
data, corpus based-studies, etc.

Submission procedure:
         - 6 September 2011: submission of articles for evaluation (
           .doc or .rtf), (articles will be subject to the usual
           blind-reviewing procedure).
         - 30 October 2011: notification of acceptance.
         - 15 December 2011: submission of final versions.
         - June 2012: publication of special issue.

Articles may be written in French or English; the expected length is
between 40,000 and 60,000 signs (punctuation and spaces included).
For more details, see (style
sheet) and (instructions for

Articles should be accompanied by an abstract of around 1500
characters, together with 5 to 8 key words, in English (and, if
possible, also in French).  Submissions should be sent to
mad2010 at and specify 'MAD publication' in the title of
the message.

Marie-Paule Péry-Woodley
Marianne Vergez Couret
Lydia-Mai Ho-Dac
Julie Lemarié

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