HomeSocial Studies of the English Language in France and the French-Speaking World (SSELFF)

HomeSocial Studies of the English Language in France and the French-Speaking World (SSELFF)

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Published on Friday, November 20, 2020


La journée SSELFF – Social Studies of the English Language in France and the French-speaking World – a pour ambition de rassembler des spécialistes de linguistique anglaise de la France et du monde francophone qui travaillent dans le cadre des approches sociales. Ces « approches sociales », prises dans leur acceptation la plus large, comprennent l’étude de la langue dans son contexte social et l’étude des questions sociales et/ou sociétales à travers les pratiques langagières. La journée SSELFF constitue donc une occasion d’amener les questions sociolinguistiques au-devant de la scène de la linguistique anglaise en France.



co-organisée par les laboratoires IDEA (EA 2338) et ATILF (UMR 7118),

Keynote Address

Prof. Gilles Forlot (Professor of sociolinguistics and language didactics – Inalco / SeDyL UMR 8202).


The Langue et supports axis of the IDEA research centre (EA 2338, Université de Lorraine) and the Didactique des langues et sociolinguistique team of the ATILF-CNRS (UMR 7118) are proud to announce the organisation of a one-day conference focused on social approaches to the study of English.

English is perhaps the most widely-spoken, widely-taught and widely-researched language in the world. For these reasons, research centred on the English language has been fundamental to the development of sociolinguistics and related disciplines, as with many branches of linguistics and language sciences. From insight into the social stratification of linguistic variables (Labov 1972), to understanding of the way in which language intertwines with social communities and identity (Eckert 1989), via explorations as to how context is embedded in language (Gumperz 1982), studies focusing on English have played a key role in shaping the questions, methods and concepts of sociolinguistics and other disciplines that adopt a social approach to researching language.

France, and the French-speaking world more generally, boast a similarly illustrious history. Studies by French-speaking scholars, both on the French language and on other linguistic forms, have contributed substantially to socially-based approaches in linguistic research. The key concepts of pratique langagière (Boutet et al. 1976) and linguistic marketplace (Bourdieu 1982) owe their existence to French-speaking scholars and work by French thinkers such as Bourdieu, Foucault and Derrida continues to underpin a multitude of socially-based studies of language across the globe. Similarly, the French-speaking world has been, and continues to be, a hotbed for work on different forms of interaction analysis and Conversation Analysis (see Traverso 2007) as well as critical approaches in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology (see Heller 2003).

However, despite this pedigree, and the large number of linguists working on the English language in the French-speaking world, socially-based studies of English from the French-speaking world have been relatively few and far between. Such studies do exist, on topics such as the variation (Higgs 2004) and standardisation (Pillière and Lewis 2018) of English, sociophonetic aspects of certain varieties of English (Jauriberry 2016), English in contact with other languages (Forlot 2009; Martin 2017) or sociolinguistic elements of English learning in France (Wharton and Wolstenholme 2019). However, these studies tend to represent an exception rather than a rule. Though the reason for this situation is unclear, linguists of English working in the French-speaking world have tended to adopt other approaches or focus on objects of study that do not lend themselves easily to socially-based study. Consequently, social studies of English have a somewhat minority status in the French-speaking academic world.

In response to this situation, this conference aims to create a forum that brings together researchers from France and the French-speaking world who adopt a socially-based approach to the study of the English language. Rather than proposing a specific topic or set of research questions, a shared social approach to English language research will be the federating element of the conference, providing an opportunity for like-minded scholars from diverse disciplines to exchange on a wide range of themes, objects of study and methodological tools. Such an aim reflects the objectives of the Langue et supports axis of the IDEA research centre to bring together researchers from different disciplines – and different approaches within disciplines – to focus on questions regarding language use, linguistic theory and research practices concerning both spoken and written language.

To encourage such interdisciplinarity, the term “socially-based” is to be taken in its widest possible sense and contributions are encouraged from researchers working with any approach that they define as such. The conference may be of particular interest to researchers working in the following domains (or sub-domains thereof) though is by no means limited to scholars from these disciplines:

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Pragmatics
  • Discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis
  • Interaction and conversation analysis
  • Linguistic anthropology, linguistic ethnography and ethnolinguistics
  • The sociology of language
  • Sociophonetics and other socially-based approaches to phonetics, phonology and prosody
  • Variationist linguistics
  • Comparative linguistics
  • Translation, interpreting and translation studies
  • Didactics and sociodidactics
  • Intercultural communication
  • English as a Lingua Franca
  • Language acquisition
  • ESL (English as a Second Language), EFL (English as a Foreign Language) and EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction)
  • Multilingualism and plurilingualism 

Following the conference, the organisers aim to collect a selection of the research presented for publication.

Given the exploratory nature of the conference, we sincerely hope that we will be able to host the event in Metz with all of the participants physically present. However, should the public health situation prevent such events from taking place, the organising committee will endeavour to put together a virtual conference on the same date.

Submission Guidelines

Propositions (for presentations of 20 minutes in English or French) are to be sent

by January 15th 2021

to both of the main organisers:

Each proposition should include a title, a 300-word abstract and a short biographical note relating to the author.

Do not hesitate to contact the organisers at the above addresses should you have any questions.

We look forward to welcoming you to Metz!

Organising Committee

  • Adam WILSON (Université de Lorraine, IDEA)
  • Marc DENEIRE (Université de Lorraine, ATILF)
  • Catherine CHAUVIN (Université de Lorraine, IDEA)
  • Jérôme CHEMIN (Université de Lorraine, IDEA)

Scientific Committee

  • Alex BOULTON (PR, Université de Lorraine)
  • Catherine CHAUVIN (MCF, Université de Lorraine)
  • Marc DENEIRE (MCF, Université de Lorraine)
  • Gilles FORLOT (PR, INALCO)
  • Lyndon HIGGS (MCF, Université de Strasbourg)
  • Linda PILLIERE (PR, Aix-Marseille Université)
  • Adam WILSON (MCF, Université de Lorraine)



  • UFR ALL - Metz - Île du Saulcy
    Metz, France (57)


  • Friday, January 15, 2021

Attached files


  • anglais, sociolinguistique, sociologie du langage, pragmatique, analyse du discours, interaction, multilinguisme, plurilinguisme


  • Marc Deneire
    courriel : marc [dot] deneire [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr
  • Adam Wilson
    courriel : adam [dot] wilson [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr

Information source

  • Adam Wilson
    courriel : adam [dot] wilson [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Social Studies of the English Language in France and the French-Speaking World (SSELFF) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, November 20, 2020,

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