Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

CSLS Guest Lecture

Integrating the cognitive and the social, the individual and the collective dimensions in a unified framework: How does sociolinguistics contribute?

Wednesday, 2022/05/04, 16:15

Event organizer: CSLS
Speaker: Jean-Pierre Chevrot (Université Grenoble Alpes)
Date: 2022/05/04
Time: 16:15 - 18:00
Locality: F023
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge

The structural (sounds, words and rules), cognitive (mental and neural processes) and social (network, groups and identities) aspects of language have been studied by historically distinct fields. If some interdisciplinary trends of Language sciences bring together two of these aspects, we still lack the theoretical and methodological tools to articulate the four dimensions.

For decades, sociolinguistics has explored the interactions between language and society. Intrinsically interdisciplinary, it has recently established connections with disciplines further away from its initial epistemic framework. This new interdisciplinary research involves sociolinguistics and several subfields of Cognitive science as well as several areas of Information and Communication Science and Technology.

In this scientific landscape, the idea will be defended that - whatever the risks - the new interdisciplinary connections place sociolinguistics in a strategic position for integrating the linguistic, social and cognitive aspects of language at the individual and collective levels.

We illustrate this idea in two ways.

On the conceptual level, we examine the two possibilities for bringing together cognitive and social facts in the history of science: the cognitive approach to the social and the social approach to the cognitive. We situate the interdisciplinary attempts of sociolinguistics with respect to these possibilities. We conclude that the next step is to find the connection between the individual and collective levels.

On the methodological level, we present the DylNeT project: Language dynamics, linguistic learning, and sociability at preschool: Benefits of wireless proximity sensors in collecting big data. Located at the intersection of Network science, Computational sociolinguistics and Developmental psycholinguistics, it is designed to observe the interaction between language acquisition and child sociality, taking into account individual trajectories as well as collective influences.

This lecture is part of the Forum SLS. MA and PhD students who would like to receive ECTS (0.25) for attending the talk, please contact right after the lecture or leave your name in the Zoom chat.

 Link to Zoom.