Symposium on the Dynamics of Language Conventionalization

The research group Language in Time and Context at the University of Copenhagen organized a symposium on 25-26 January 2012 on the way language conventions are created, sustained and changed through everyday processes of communication, and how processes of conventionalization operate and how they may be studied from the following perspectives:

Experience & Dialogicity
Materiality & Literacy
Participation & Situated meaning
Formulaicity & Genre

Preliminary programme



It was the point of departure for this symposium that language presupposes human beings with communicational needs. Persons are 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 become embedded in each particular situation. The processes of communication are not dependent on any other set of a priori standards. Therefore language is a historical, social, and cognitive phenomenon.

Participants were invited to contribute data and/or perspectives on all forms of communication: spoken as well as written (modern and old), language among children or adults, language produced by social minorities/majorities. Welcome were also the integration of drawings, pictures, layout, voice qualities, gestures and performances whenever such materials and actions seem to help the involved parties to organize their processes of communication.

The symposium aimed to facilitate a dialogue among researchers about the way a variety of requisite factors are related to the creation of language - most
fundamentally the biophysical and social conditions of human beings in time and space. Researchers from different fields of studies were invited to explore the
seamlessness between various modes of expression when these are involved in processes of conventionalization.

Invited speakers:

Christian Benne
Jan Blommaert
Nigel Love
Paul J. Thibault

Linguistic subfield: Empirically based integrational studies in language