Doctoral colloquium on the empirical consequences of languaging and integrational approaches – University of Copenhagen

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Doctoral colloquium on the empirical consequences of languaging and integrational approaches

The University of Copenhagen 9-10 May 2011

This colloquium sought to investigate the empirical consequences of three cognate approaches to the study of language as a historical, social, and cognitive phenomenon. Language presupposes human beings with communicational needs. Persons are always situated in time and context, and processes of communication take place in particular spatio-temporal and social circumstances. Language is dynamic and intrinsically social. The creation of signs and the participants' prior communicative experiences, social understandings, and knowledge of language are embedded in each particular situation. Human beings are language makers or languagers.

This view of language represents a departure from traditional (structuralist) linguistics which gives primacy to system and structure at the expense of situated embodied languagers. It also has consequences for the empirical study of communication processes, and these consequences need to be identified and taken. While some traditional concepts and methods may be recycled, others are incompatible, and this requires a close conceptual and terminological scrutiny together with the development of appropriate methodological means in order to avoid pouring old linguistic wine into new methodological bottles. The colloquium focused on the following issues in particular

  • What is a linguistic fact and how is it attested empirically?

  • Which analytical categories from traditional linguistics are compatible with languaging and/or integrational approaches?

  • The concept of data - what should count as data, and how are they collected?

Participating PhD students gave a short presentation of a concrete empirical problem
relating to their project for discussion at the colloquium.