Panel Sessions

Day 1
06 May 2019
Day 2
07 May 2019
Day 3
08 May 2019

Yes, no, maybe and not so much, in the grammar of the language

Panelists: Maria Helena Moura Neves, Carlos Faraco, Marcos Bagno

Places: 100

This speech treats the grammar of language in use in two territories, both of them laid on the conception that ‘grammar’ lessons cannot be well solved in terms of explanation if the description of the analyst offers categorial labels which are invariably unifunctional. In the first sample, without denying the systemic regulation of language, we propose that language use reveals, however, that the specific category is only defined on the combinatory game of categorial features which occur in different points of the utterance. In the second sample – more discoursively oriented – of this proposal of a linguistic analysis which is not commited to the fixity of limits, the territory of ‘polarity’ is unveiled: it is, in principle, a binary yes / no game, however the discoursive operation of transiting between the poles composes an interspace of meaning production which results in the assembly, for example, of nos which do not nod, of comparative structures which relativize comparisons, and of modalizations which bring the speaker to the stage of relativizations (never compromising the language system).

Aux limites du discours

Panelists: Jean-Jacques Courtine & Monica Zoppi

Places: 650

Les délires, aux limites du discours.
Paris, capitale de la folie, à la fin du XIXème siècle

Paris, dernier quart du XIXème siècle…. Avec l’urbanisation accélérée de la capitale, l’augmentation massive de sa population, des anxiétés nouvelles se font jour. L’alcoolisme fait rage, les dégénérescences guettent. « N’y-a-t-il pas plus de fous aujourd’hui qu’autrefois ? », s’inquiète ainsi le Dr Paul Garnier dans sa Folie à Paris (1890). Il occupe une position stratégique pour répondre à la question : Garnier est le médecin-chef de l’Infirmerie Spéciale du dépôt de la Préfecture de Police, où sont transportés tous les insensés qu’on embarque sur les pavés de la capitale. Et la réponse est affirmative : l’entassement dans la cité de masses compactes et flottantes d’individus anonymes ferait éclore de nouvelles folies urbaines, jusqu’alors inconnues. La ville produirait donc de la folie, dont la psychiatrie observe, transcrit, identifie, et classe les discours.

On pourrait en rester là, et n’y voir rien d’autre qu’un épisode classique de la longue histoire du contrôle des aliénés. Mais il y a une autre manière de lire ce tableau des misères urbaines dont les rapports psychiatriques consignent scrupuleusement les discours ; et d’y entendre les voix de ces égarés lorsqu’elles percent la surface du discours psychiatrique. Aux limites de celui-ci, dans ses creux et ses marges, une autre ville alors se dévoile. Car si la ville engendre de la folie, la folie produit de la ville : une image singulière de la capitale se dégage de ces délires. Elle possède sa géographie, sa monumentalité, ses hauts-lieux comme ses bas-fonds, ses zones d’ombre ; mais aussi ses parcours, ses lignes de fuite, ses errances, ses divagations… N’est-il pas enfin temps, pour ceux qu’analyser des discours préoccupe, d’explorer le continent noir de la folie, et de restituer leur sens historique aux paroles qui nous en parviennent ?

Jean-Jacques Courtine
Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor, Queen Mary, University of London
Emeritus Professor, University of California (Santa Barbara) & Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III)
Honorary Professor, University of Auckland (New Zealand)

L2 Speech Development: Challenges and Propositions

Panelists: Xinchun Wang & Ubiratã Alves

Places: 650

The role of Contexto in Linguistics in the last 32 years

Panelists: Ataliba de Castilho, Jaime Pinsky e Dermeval da Hora

Places: 100

In order for Brazilian linguistics research to be understood and valued, we would need a publisher run by an academic. This “dream of consumption” came true in 1987, when Prof. Jaime Pinsky, retired holder of Ancient and Medieval History of the State University of Campinas, founded Editora Contexto. From that year on, Editora Contexto published some of the best works in the area of Linguistics written by Brazilian researchers.

Paths of change: the portuguese lexicon

Panelists: Graça Rio-Torto & Mário Viaro

Places: 100

The tension between stability and change, between conservatism and innovation that defines the languages, is also reflected in the lexicon, in its architecture, in its lexical constructs, in the morphological and lexical resources and wordformation patterns of each idiom. Like other sectors of the language, the lexicon organization and dynamics is grounded on change. The successive periods of structural reorganization of the lexicon of Portuguese follow the changes of the remaing fields of the language, so that it will be focused the interfacing with phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, in close conjunction with the discursive/textual conditions of use and the sociocognitive and interidiomatic contacts factors that shape the functioning of languages. In this panel we attempt to describe and analyze some of the trends more/less prototypical of the changes, the emergence of specific lexical domains, their motivations, their repercussions within the lexicon, in the periodization of the language, in its grammaticalization, ressemantization, textual typologies, among many other aspects. The heterogeneous nature of the lexicon and the multiplicity of causes of dynamic change in its interior justify the diversity of theoretical foundations and of empirical basis of the study, which can include Brazilian Portuguese, vernacular or not, European Portuguese, contemporary or not, in any of its dyatopic, dyastratic and/or dyaphasic varieties.

Formal approaches to sign language syntax: the impact of modality

Panelists: Roland Pfau & Ronice Quadros

Places: 650

After more than 50 years of research on sign languages from all around the world, there can be no doubt anymore that sign languages are natural languages, fully on a par with spoken languages on all levels of linguistic description. Given that formal approaches to language structure usually (implicitly or explicitly) adhere to the tenet of universality, it is thus a worthwhile endeavor to investigate in how far such approaches can also be applied to structures observed in visual-gestural languages, i.e., in how far the suggested formalisms are independent of the mode of signal transmission. Indeed, to date numerous efforts have been made to demonstrate that formal approaches couched within Generative Grammar (Government & Binding, Minimalism, Distributed Morphology, Optimality Theory) can explain sign language structures, i.e. derive the attested patterns and exclude the unattested ones. It is safe to say that these efforts have been successful. Still, we need to ask whether the peculiarities of manual articulation – think, for instance, of the availability of two articulators (the two hands) and the grammatical use of space – do not at the same time confront us with phenomena that are difficult to capture in models that have been developed based on spoken languages.

In this panel, we will first provide a brief overview of the interplay between formal syntactic approaches and sign language linguistics, i.e. the impact of formal models on the study of sign language structures, and vice versa. We then present two lines of research dealing with this interplay. Ronice will present a study on bimodal code-blending, i.e. the simultaneous mixing of sign and spoken language in utterances produced by hearing native signers. Obviously, the simultaneous combination of lexical elements and syntactic structures is not an option in spoken languages, and thus existing models are not designed to capture this phenomenon. Ronice will demonstrate how a formal model can account for the sometimes rather complex blending patterns. Roland will address the syntactic phenomenon Negative Concord (NC) in his contribution. Across sign languages, negation can be expressed by manual elements (particles) and non-manual markers (e.g. headshake) which combine in language-specific ways. Roland will argue that a formal model which assumes that negative elements carry uninterpretable or interpretable features (which have to be checked) can account for different types of NC observed in sign languages, i.e. NC involving manual and/or non-manual elements.

14:00 – 14:15 Roland Pfau & Ronice M. de Quadros: Introduction: Modality and theory
14:15 – 14:50 Ronice M. de Quadros: Blending language modalities
14:50 – 15:25 Roland Pfau: Negative Concord in sign languages
15:25 – 16:00 Discussion