Linguistics professors and graduate students from about 70 countries heard presentations from Kalamazoo College Associate Professor of Japanese Noriko Sugimori and Assistant Professor of Spanish Tris Faulkner at a pragmatics seminar in July.
The International Pragmatics Conference, themed “The shape of interaction: the pragmatics of (a)typicality,” was conducted at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solbosch Campus, in Brussels, Belgium.
Sugimori’s presentation, titled “Exploring What Are Atypical and Typical in Modern Japanese: Newspaper Imperial Honorifics and Language Policies,” built on her past studies examining the changes in and the use of Japanese imperial honorifics, representing a variety of political slants in modern Japan during and after World War II. Honorifics are titles or words that imply or express high status, politeness or respect.
Faulkner’s presentation, titled “The Relationship Between Mood and Modal Concord in Spanish Directive Complements,” centered on past experimental studies that demonstrated that traditionally-described, “subjunctive-requiring” clauses are not as stringently subjunctive as previously put forth. In this presentation, she discussed “weak” directive predicates (such as recomendar que ‘to recommend that’ and aconsejar que ‘to advise that’) and their use of the indicative (instead of the customary use of the subjunctive) in contexts designated to putting forth a singular order or command as opposed to dual or bilateral instructions.
The semiannual conference is presented by the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), a global scientific organization devoted to the study of language. Established in 1986, it currently has about 1,500 members and targets successful communication across languages and borders.