The International Linguistic Association 59th Annual Conference

22-24 May 2014
Paris, France, Université de Paris II, Panthéon-Assas


Conference theme: The Linguistics of Rhetoric and Debate

In 1943, a group of linguists at colleges and universities in the New York area, including many members of the École Libre des Hautes Études in exile, came together to form the Linguistic Circle of New York. The model for the new organization was the Société de Linguistique de Paris. Among the first members were Henri F. Muller, Giuliano Bonfante, and Roman Jakobson. In recognition of the French roots of the International Linguistic Association, the Conference was held on May 22 - 24, 2014 at the Université de Paris II, Panthéon-Assas, in Paris, France.

Rhetoric has developed as a discursive discipline whose primary purpose is one of persuading the hearer to adopt the speaker's point of view. The debate uses rhetorical discourse to present opposing arguments to an audience, until the audience, or members of it, adopts one side or the other as the more reasonable argument. Linguistic studies have sought to analyze the structure of discourse in order to find syntactic, semantic and pragmatic patterns that make rhetorical texts effective in changing the audience's mind.

The organizers of the ILA's 59th Annual Conference solicited papers on linguistic approaches to the study of rhetoric and debate, with the intention of encouraging renewed interest in the subject at a time when debate is conducted in greatly expanded arenas and in new communicative conditions. The languages of the Conference were English and French with plenary talks in English.

Click here for the conference program


Plenary Speakers

Kathryn English (Université Panthéon-Assas de Paris II and Declan Cavana, Ecole Polytechnique)
"The French Debating Association: Rhetoric and the Foreign Language Classroom"

Jonathan J. Webster (City University of Hong Kong)
"Visualizing the Architecture and Texture of Selected Speeches of Richard Nixon and Barak Obama"

Rob Leonard and Tammy Gales (Hofstra University)
"Forensic Linguistics"

Olivier Bertrand (Université de Clergy-Pontoise)
"Rhetoric, Humor and Persuasion in Medieval French (9th—15th Centuries)"



Event Gallery

Jonathan J. Webster (City University of Hong Kong)
"Visualizing the Architecture and Texture of Selected Speeches of Richard Nixon and Barak Obama"

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