Expressivity and Anomaly, 2008

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Expressivity and Anomaly
14-15 November 2008
Organising committee: Catherine Chauvin, Maurice Kauffer, Marc Deneire, Laurence Denooz, Saba Fares

Scientific Committee: Denis APOTHELOZ (Université Nancy 2 – Nancy Université), Catherine CHAUVIN (Université Nancy 2 – Nancy Université), Laurent GAUTIER (Université de Bourgogne), Albert HAMM (Université de Strasbourg), Olga INKOVA (Université de Genève), Maurice KAUFFER (ATILF / CNRS – Nancy Université), Héliane KOHLER (Université de Besançon), René METRICH (ATILF / CNRS – Nancy Université), Sylvia PALMA (Université de Reims), Catherine PAULIN (Université de Besançon)

The international conference on linguistic expressivity and anomaly was co-organised by IDEA with the ATILF (the research group in Franco-German lexicography) and the Réseau des Linguistes du Grand-Est (the Research Group for Linguists in the Greater Eastern Region of France), as well as the department of Arabic Studies and the Institute of German Studies at Nancy 2. This collaboration between research groups made it possible to pursue the reflection on linguistic expressivity that had been undertaken in two previous seminars – at Besançon in 2006 and at Dijon in 2007. The specific aim of this conference on Expressivity and Anomaly was to examine the relation between expressivity and deviations from linguistic norms, or atypical forms.

The presentations given at the conference worked from the notion that linguistic forms that have a certain ‘expressivity’ are, in fact, also forms that are in some way atypical – in other words, they are not ‘neutral’ forms. ‘Diversity, which is the essential basis for expressivity, almost naturally presupposes anomaly’ (Bally 1935: 145). The presentations postulated the existence of a linguistic dimension that might be analysed in terms of expressivity. The conference papers explored this dimension, on the one hand, by specifying the relations that exist between expressivity and atypical forms and, on the other hand, by questioning the very notion of expressivity and the uses to which this notion is put. The basic questions on which the conference participants reflected were thus the following:

Is anomaly a sine qua non condition for expressivity?

Is it necessary to distinguish between different types of atypical forms, and to specify the types of relation in which these forms stand to the ‘neutral’ form?

What role do contextual phenomena play in the appearance of an expressive form?

What is expressivity: how might one define the effects of expressivity that are discernable in various languages?

The participants in this conference came primarily from universities in the greater eastern region of France (Nancy 2, Metz, Reims, Strasbourg, Besançon and Burgundy). Foreign universities were also represented (Karlsruhe and Geneva).

Conference programme

Conference abstracts

A collection of articles based on the presentations given at the conference will be published by the Presses Universitaires de Franche Comté : Ecart et expressivité, Expressivité Vol. 3 (2011).