Literary Scholars and Linguists from 43 Countries Meet in Heidelberg
24 July 2013
Around 160 literary scholars and linguists from 43 countries will meet at Heidelberg University from 31 July to 4 August 2013. They are participants in the annual meeting of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), the international association for research on Stylistics. This is the first time the PALA conference has been held in Germany. In their exchange of views on the present research questions at the interface between language and literature, they will study different ways of using language and other signs as well as stylistic patterns and variations arising from particular contexts and situations. The organizer of this year’s PALA annual meeting is Prof. Dr. Beatrix Busse, who is a linguist in the English Department of Heidelberg University.
Stylistics is concerned with analysing the complex linguistic forms and functions that “create” meanings and effects in texts or discourses. These meanings and effects are dependent, for example, on characterising deviations from specific linguistic conventions, e.g. whether the discourse is a conversation among friends or more formal, what narrative perspective is selected or whether different signs interact with one another in a text. Studies are conducted according to the context, time, and space, Prof. Busse explains. Hence the scholars ask questions about the style of an author, a particular period of time or a situation.
This year‘s PALA annual meeting focuses on “Mobile Stylistics”, which extends the perspective to the consequences of mobility and globalisation. “We witness this development in the break-up of traditional views of text and genre, of movement, of space, place and time,” says the Heidelberg scholar. According to Busse, theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches to research need to be reviewed. “In the effort to recognise variable social styles and patterns in discourse, Stylistics has to engage in new research on the limits of empirical study and the complex connection between quantitative and qualitative analyses in material worlds.”
The conference proceedings are in English and anyone interested is invited to attend. The plenary papers will be held in the Great Hall of the Old University building. The other venues are in the New University building.