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Domains, territories and borders in English for Specific Purposes

Domaines, territoires et frontières en anglais de spécialité

XXXIVth International Conference of the study and research Group in English for Specific Purposes

XXXIVe colloque du Groupe d'étude et de recherche en anglais de spécialité (GERAS)

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Published on Monday, October 29, 2012 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

At a time when interdisciplinarities, multidisciplinarities or transdisciplinarities are developing, it is fitting to reconsider the manner in which we mark out the territories traditionally explored in English for specific purposes. It is useful also to establish a cadastre, even provisionally, of the new frontiers brought about by the decompartmentalisation of disciplines and occupations. The papers can deal with the linguistic, cultural or didactic aspects of ESP.

Announcement

General framework

Specialisation in the English language is often associated with the notion of “domain”, a tool favoured by terminologists to identify lexical items that they intend to analyse or classify. However, at a time when interdisciplinarities, multidisciplinarities or transdisciplinarities are developing (nowadays we talk about bio-computing, for example), it is undoubtedly fitting to reconsider the manner in which we mark out the territories traditionally explored in English for specific purposes. It is useful also to establish a cadastre, even provisionally, of the new frontiers brought about by the decompartmentalisation of disciplines and occupations. As an interface discipline that makes use of several approaches (linguistics and discourse analysis, didactics—an axis that notably encompasses information and communication technology—, cultural studies), English for specific purposes is today seeing a surge of specialised phenomena that probably stretch beyond its traditional study perimeters. Current societal debates that take place in the English-speaking world (for example about environmental issues) bring together players with diverse affiliations (scientists, activists, politicians, engineers...) and may thus give rise to new kinds of “specialisms”, as disciplinary knowledge and expertise become shared by numerous stakeholders. However, even though the territories of specialism are being eroded due to the effects of this new cartography, others are perhaps emerging, a phenomenon that ESP teachers cannot ignore. As they aim to build tailored educational programmes, they must keep track of the tectonic movements affecting the objectives, content and methods of ESP courses.

  • Linguistic and discursive axis

The conference’s general framework raises several questions of an epistemological nature. Is it possible to think of linguistic or discursive specialisation in English outside of the traditional areas of study, i.e. English for science, economics, academia, medicine and law? The advent of new disciplines such as cognitive science, forensic science, or criminology, which all involve interaction between experts of different academic fields, may make it necessary to reconsider the way in which ESP envisages terminology, specialised phraseology, or specialised discourses. In particular, analysing the specialisation of English in these emerging fields might require ESP researchers to go beyond the borders already cemented by traditional academic spheres, and, by exploring the moving borders of disciplines, identify new kinds of specialisation. Can corpus-based or corpus-driven studies on specialist texts contribute to this necessary exercise of boundary marking? Also at stake are the chronological borders of “specialism”: when do identifiable specialisations emerge, and what signs allow us to detect their beginnings?

  • Didactic axis

The conference’s cartographic dimension calls into question current pedagogical practices in ESP teaching, and calls for epistemological reflection. Is it possible to overcome the confines of the paradigms formulated by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in order to define new didactics and pedagogies? Should we knock down for good the walls that can still separate the ESP teacher from his/her colleagues, specialists in other disciplines, in order to promote collaborative pedagogical projects? Would it be useful for reflection on ESP didactics to take the notion of “terroir” into consideration, in order to adapt teaching strategies to the concrete reality of an establishment, a group of students, or a pedagogical team? More generally, are there hitherto unchartered territories in ESP didactics, even though the borders between different teaching materials, now unified by the continuum of digitalisation, seem to be fading? Does the increasing accessibility of technology—for ESP teachers, practitioners in language industries, but also for students —draw new borders for distance teaching, or computer-based teaching aids in the classroom? “Digital prostheses” (tablet computers, phones connected to the web, etc.) have become indispensable in our daily lives— are they new territories that the ESP teacher should explore? Having engaged in a fruitful dialogue with ergonomics years ago, should English for specific purposes resolutely open itself up to other disciplinary fields, notably web engineering, simulation technology and augmented reality?

  • Cultural axis

The presence of “specialisms” in the English language is, as we know, the fruit of cultural forces at work in communities whose spheres cover professional or disciplinary segmentations, not to mention perimeters where heterogeneous actors interact (here we might think of sport, for example). Are these specialist cultures impervious to each other, or rather do they fertilise each other and thus give birth to new forms of “specialism”? Furthermore, does the increasing internationalisation of large organisations, and the rise in prominence of English as a lingua franca within such organisations, pose a threat to the very existence of these cultural counties composed of discursive communities while globalisation tends to make borders between societies disappear?

Submission guidelines

Proposals should be submitted in French or English (around 300 words) to anthony.saber@ens-cachan.fr

by January 15th 2013.

  • Notification of acceptance : 2 February 2013
  • Dates of the Conference : 21-23 March 2013

Scientific committee

  • Dr. Helen Basturkmen, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Arts - Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, University of Auckland, New-Zealand
  • Professor Ana Bocanegra-Valle, Directora de la Revista Ibérica, Universidad de Cádiz, Spain
  • Professor Angela Chambers, Director of Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Limerick, Ireland
  • Dr. Christine Feak, Lecturer, University of Michigan, United States
  • Professor Philip Shaw, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Professor Margaret Rogers, Director of the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
  • Professor Jean-Claude Bertin, Université du Havre, France
  • Professor Shirley Carter-Thomas, Institut Télécom Évry , France
  • Professor Christopher Gledhill, Université Paris Diderot, France
  • Dr. Monique Mémet, Emerita Senior Lecturer, École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France
  • Professor Michel Petit, Université Bordeaux Segalen, France
  • Dr. Elsa Pic, Senior Lecturer, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, France
  • Dr. Anthony Saber, Senior Lecturer, École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France
  • Dr. Cédric Sarré, Senior Lecturer, IUFM de Paris, France
  • Professor Michel Van der Yeught, Université d’Aix-Marseille, France

Places

  • École normale supérieure de Cachan, 61 avenue du Président Wilson
    Cachan, France (94)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Keywords

  • linguistique, anglais professionnel, didactique

Contact(s)

  • Anthony Saber
    courriel : anthony [dot] saber [at] ens-cachan [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Monique Memet
    courriel : m [dot] memet [at] orange [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Domains, territories and borders in English for Specific Purposes », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, October 29, 2012, https://calenda.org/226035

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