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Department of Discourse Studies,

Institute of Applied Linguistics

University of Warsaw

invites to

Language and Society: Workshop in Communication and Discourse Studies

Warsaw, 13 May 2015



We kindly invite all graduate students, researchers and other young scholars interested in Discourse Studies to take part in a special Workshop organised as part of the GLOBE conference on May 13th, 2015.

The Workshop will be run by two renowned scholars in the field of discourse studies:

Istvan Kecskes – Professor of Linguistics and Communication at the State University of New York, Albany and the President of the American Pragmatics Association (AMPRA)

Crispin Thurlow – Professor of Language and Communication in the Institute of English Languages and Literatures at the University of Bern


The main theme of the Workshop is modern communication. While English as a lingua franca and its communicative patterns (speakers' thought processes and linguistic conventions) will be the focus of Professor Kecskes' talk, Professor Thurlow will discuss news reports and digital discourse, the workings of technology and its implications for mediatized language.


The workshop is scheduled as follows.


Istvan Kecskes: “Tell me about it”: Formulaic language use in English Lingua Franca



Crispin Thurlow Making Sense of Digital Discourse: Ideologies, Methodologies, Multimodalities


We accept applications to take part in the workshop until 5 May 2015 (final date). Please send your application to:  Adres poczty elektronicznej jest chroniony przed robotami spamującymi. W przeglądarce musi być włączona obsługa JavaScript, żeby go zobaczyć.


Admission free.

“Tell me about it”: Formulaic language use in English Lingua Franca


Istvan Kecskes

State University of New York, Albany


What makes lingua franca communication unique is that interlocutors usually speak different first languages and belong to different cultures but use a common language that has its own socio-cultural background and preferred ways of saying things. So it is essential to ask the question: With no native speakers participating in the language game how much will the players stick to the original rules of the game?

            If we want to answer this question, we will need to find out something about English Lingua Franca speakers’ thought processes and linguistic conventions as reflected in their language use. What are the possible means for this? People belonging to a particular speech community have preferred ways of saying things (cf. Kecskes 2007, 2015; Wray 2002) and preferred ways of organizing thoughts (Kecskes 2007). Preferred ways of saying things are generally reflected in the use of formulaic language and figurative language while preferred ways of organizing thoughts can be detected through analyzing, for instance, the use of subordinate conjunctions, clauses and discourse markers.

The workshop will focus on the use of formulaic language that consists of speech routines and prefabricated formulas whose use is conventionalized in a relatively homogenous speech community. Relatively common experience makes it possible for members of the speech community to process formulaic expressions in a similar way. However, in ELF this common experience is missing. How will people go about formulating utterances and interpreting them when they can't count on those commonalities and conventions, and in a sense, they are expected to create and co-construct them?  Will this overwhelming need for co-constructing change communication in any way? Will players still stick to the rules of the game? The presentation seeks answer to these questions analyzing two datasets of ELF production.




Kecskes, I. 2007. Formulaic language in English Lingua Franca. In Kecskes, I. & L. Horn (eds.) Explorations in Pragmatics: Linguistic, Cognitive and Intercultural Aspects. Berlin/New            York: Mouton de Gruyter: 191-219.

Kecskes, I. 2015. “Is the Idiom Principle Blocked in Bilingual L2 Production?” Chapter 2. In      Roberto Heredia and Anna Cieslicka (eds.) Bilingual Figurative Language Processing.       Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 28-53.

Wray, A. 2002. Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Making Sense of Digital Discourse: Ideologies, Methodologies, Multimodalities


Crispin Thurlow

University of Bern, Switzerland


GRAMMAR CRUSADER SPENDS YEARS REMOVING REPEATED ERROR 47,000 TIMES ON WIKIPEDIA. Grammar vigilante Bryan Henderson has corrected the same error on thousands of Wikipedia pages.

Somewhat expectedly, this headline comes from the socially conservative British newspaper The Telegraph. Perhaps what is more surprising, however, is that the article was published only a few months ago (05 Feb, 2015). Is this really news? Is this really still newsworthy? Given how well-established new media are in the lives of so many people around the world, it’s hard to imagine that journalists are still so preoccupied with the idea that technologies pose a threat to human communication and, specifically, to language. Professor Thurlow has been researching mediatized representations of new media language – or digital discourse – for nearly a decade, with a particular concern for the way young people are depicted. People’s anxieties about grammar, spelling and punctuation in new media tell us a lot about how they think technology works and, of course, how they think language works. Their judgments of other people’s ways of using both technology and language also reveal a lot about hierarchies of symbolic and material inequality.

In this workshop – intended primarily for graduate students – Professor Thurlow will explore these types of issues and data. Working hands-on with a sample of news reports, he will walk participants through a three-step “triangulation” framework for analysing mediatized discourse data. In doing so, he will help participants think through the common language-ideological processes at work in this data; together, they will also consider how the same cultural politics are enacted in the kinds of visual images that commonly accompany newspaper stories. In other words, the workshop will be taking a multimodal approach to digital discourse. While participants will be invited to reflect critically on the social and theoretical issues, the primary goal is to offer practical methods for organizing their own research.


Organizing Committe

Prof. dr hab. Anna Duszak

Dr hab. Łucja Biel

Dr Karolina Broś

Dr Grzegorz Kowalski

Dr Łukasz Kumięga


GlobE 2015 "East – West European Forum on Discourse"
Talking ‘discourse’ in European linguistics: past, present and future

University of Warsaw, 14-16 May 2015

E-mail:  Adres poczty elektronicznej jest chroniony przed robotami spamującymi. W przeglądarce musi być włączona obsługa JavaScript, żeby go zobaczyć.