PALA conference, Birmingham

Billy Clark and I will be organising a special interest group workshop at the international conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association in Birmingham in July 2018. The workshop title is ‘Pragmatics and Literature’, and the deadline for the submission of papers is 31st January 2018. The conference website and call for papers can be found here.

Panel at IPrA, Belfast 2017

Together with Billy Clark, I will be organising a panel at the 15th International Pragmatics Conference, in Belfast in July 2017. The panel title is ‘Pragmatic Approaches to Literary Analysis’, and the deadline for the submission of papers is 15th October 2016. The conference website can be found here.

Arne Naess Memorial Seminar

Last week I was in Oslo for the Arne Naess Memorial Seminar, an event organised by the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo. It was great to hear talks on various aspects of Naess’s work, and to have the chance to talk to a number of people who knew and worked with Naess at different stages in his career. I will be back in Oslo next year for a seminar focussing on Naess’s work in semantics and its relation to logical positivism, run by the Seminar in Science Studies at the University.

LAGB 2007

Last week I was at the LAGB conference at King’s College, London, where I heard some very interesting papers and discussions. My paper was called ‘Empirical semantics: the case of “or”‘. In this, I used two separate accounts of ‘or’ from the 1960s, Grice’s famous treatment of generalised conversational implicatures in his lectures on ‘Logic and Conversation’, and an empirical study by Arne Naess, as a way of comparing the assumptions and methodologies of ordinary language philosophy with those of Naess’s empirical semantics. Linguists are becoming increasingly interested in questions of methodology and of data and, as I argued in my paper, some of the things being said in present-day linguistics are remarkably similar to the views expressed in Naess’s little-known philosophy of language.

Stylistics: Eclecticism and Interdisciplinarity

I’ve just been to the mini-PALA conference at the University of Huddersfield, where I talked on ‘”Whereof one cannot speak”: philosophical asides on literature’. In this paper, I considered some of the things that philosophers have said about literature when they were really interested in something else, usually in some aspect of the question of the relationship between language and truth. I suggested some ways in which these philosophical asides might be of interest to present-day linguists engaged in the study of literature.

The conference, with the general theme of ‘Stylistics: Eclecticism and Interdisciplinarity’ was very successful and very enjoyable. It was particularly striking to see how, despite the many different ways in which participants approached the theme, there was real consensus about the viability and desirability of eclecticism in linguistic approaches, particularly approaches to literary study. Lesley Jeffries is planning to edit a collection of papers from the conference for publication.