International Conference
Critical Discourse and Linguistic Variation. Cultural and linguistic stereotypes
Suceava, 23-24 July 2015

The Critical Discourse and Linguistic Variation International Conference, now at Fifth edition, proposes to PhD students, and all those interested, a general and integrative thematic under the title Cultural and linguistic stereotypes

Stereotypes are a common buzz-word in fields varying from medicine to didactics, all dealing with ways to avoid patterns. Anthropology, for example, addresses the issue of cultural stereotypes that would ensure consistency and individualization of a social, ethnic, or cultural group, or of a community. A constitutive element of the human thought, stereotypes take the form of either myths as self-referential and justifying discourses, or prejudices as generalized and simplified speech acts. In a narrow sense, a stereotype involves both the mechanical repetition of forms, generated by a lack of originality (which would result in an oversimplified expression), and the taking for granted, without personal interpretation, of an idea, considered valuable. With relatively similar meanings, there are also the concepts of cliché, pattern –as mechanical repetition of a model. Taking into consideration the wide variety of terms regarding similar realities, we consider that some differences must be taken into consideration when dealing with terms such as stereotype, cliché, pattern etc.

Widely speaking, stereotypes regard everything that repeat and multiply a certain pattern, resulting in common traits of character; from this point of view, both the theoretical study of language (and also of other disciplines in the humanities), and the practical approaches of social sciences and cultural studies, aim at establishing models, types etc. which meet the requirements of regulating phenomena, so that, by a process of generalization, one can establish classes, paradigms and categories corresponding to series of elements and features defining identities and differences. In this case, we are talking about the positive aspects of epistemological and methodological stereotypes.

Research regarding the cognitive processes also proves the positive role of the stereotype as an indispensable element in the functioning of human memory and thinking (as a strong, resistant concept). Hence, it is only natural to accept the statement that one might identify in language positive stereotypes (functional stereotypes), due to the congruence between the communicative and cognitive processes. In this respect, based on the theory of E. Coşeriu, we can advance the idea that a certain language contains an amount of models, diagrams, and also a system imposed by tradition, which operates as a template. Therefore, there is a chance that the same structure is repeated exactly in the same format, or that the same oppositions and differences are employed several times. Hence, at a superior level, an amount of recurrences should distinguish the types and groups of languages (Romance, Germanic etc.) that would constitute different categories of functional stereotypes.

At the level of speech, of discourse, there is more freedom regarding the norm, but a type of freedom which takes into account the system – “the current technique”, and some fixed structures imposed by tradition – “the repeated speech”. The latter is usually considered a lexical stereotype, with or without expressive value, which manifests itself in all functional styles, but also in the non-literary language. But the former, updated in speech and characterized by the transformation of the virtual into real and harnessing creativity and ingenuity, is manifested through the constraints imposed in language by standards (of congruence, correctness, adequacy etc.) dictated by tradition and history, and in accordance with the expectations of the receivers (stereotypes of conformity). Even when one takes into account the deviation from the norm, in the name of the poetic, this deviation must be recognized as an attribute of language, still part of a system that outlines the borders of expressivity. The role of the writers would be precisely to constantly identify other opportunities of “disappointing” the norm.

All these research directions, but also others in accordance with the proposed thematic, can constitute themes for research papers presented at the conference organized by the Humanities Doctoral School, “Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava. Those interesting in participating are invited to submit to debate their own research results, by reuniting and confronting various opinions and research directions (discourse analysis, linguistics, language history, stylistics, literary criticism and theory, interpretation, translation studies etc.).

The general theme of the conference will be organized in three sections:

1) New trends in evaluating the literary text

2) Discursive and textual analysis

3) Interdisciplinary approaches to discourse.

Delegates can present write their papers in Romanian, French, English, Spanish, Italian, or German.

The deadline for the participation fee (covering access to all conference sections, conference materials, certificate of attendance, coffee breaks, publishing the papers in a ISBN conference proceedings volume) is 15 July 2015.

The payment details will be communicated at a further date.

Participation fee:

Romanian delegates: 150 RON (attending the conference and publishing the paper)

Delegates from abroad:

40 euro (attending the conference and publishing the paper)

50 euro (publishing the paper, without attending the conference).