International Conference on Dialogic Language Use 3: Miscommunication and Verbal Violence


in Helsinki, Finland, 15-17 August 2012

Plenary speakers:

Ruth Amossy (Université de Tel-Aviv): La violence dans les confrontations verbales : un échec de la communication ?
Derek Bousfield (University of Central Lancashire): Impoliteness/Rudeness: One in the same?
Arnulf Deppermann (Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim): Gleiche Wörter – inkommensurable Bedeutungen: Zur interaktiven Entstehung von
Undurchschaubarkeit in politischen Diskussionen durch semantische Verschiebungen und Diversifizierung
Tony McEnery (Lancaster University): Primed for Violence? Language and violence, a case study
Claudine Moïse (Université Stendhal de Grenoble 3): Les phénomènes de ruptures interactionnelles dans la violence verbale fulgurante
Monika Schwarz-Friesel (Technische Universität Berlin): Tatort Sprache: verbale Gewalt gegen Juden im 21. Jahrhundert

Dialogic Language Use 3 is the third international symposium in a series related to dialogic language and phenomena associated with it. The symposium is organized by the Modern Language Society in Helsinki, 15-17 August 2012 as part of the Society’s 125th anniversary celebrations. This year’s theme is the darker side of dialogic language use: misunderstanding, polemics, disagreement, swearing, insults, slander, and verbal hygiene. We invite participants working in the fields of sociolinguistics, translation studies, pragmatics, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, and literary criticism, with both present-day and historical perspectives. Possible research questions may include the following:

  • Do insults have a logic of their own? Are there patterns in individual or collective ways of insulting? Is it possible to determine, for example, the morphology of swearing, and the linguistic or discursive structures of an insult? What does swearing represent in, for example, literary texts?
  • What recent developments can be traced in linguistic studies of misunderstanding? Can communicative failure be described schematically? How is misunderstanding represented in different texts, such as textbooks, comics, and fiction?
  • How has social media changed and influenced the study of these issues?
  • What sort of ethical issues arise when these questions are explored?
  • How does harsh language change in translation – or does it?
  • How is the dichotomy between written and spoken language manifested in the case of, for example, insults?

Please send your abstract of 300 words to by 13 February 2012.  Notifications of acceptance will be sent in mid-March.

The conference page in French:
The conference page in German:

For more information, contact (English) (German) (Romance languages)

Organizing committee: Ulla Tuomarla (chair), Liisa Tiittula, Marjo Vesalainen, Päivi Sihvonen, Anni Sairio, Marianna Hintikka, and Maria Paloheimo.

Scientific Committee:

Mary Bucholtz (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Gabriele Diewald (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
Reinhard Fiehler (Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim)
Juhani Härmä (Université de Helsinki)
Jarmo Korhonen (Universität Helsinki)
Terttu Nevalainen (University of Helsinki)
Minna Palander-Collin (University of Helsinki)
Päivi Sihvonen (Université de Helsinki)
Liisa Tiittula (Universität Helsinki)
Véronique Traverso (Université Lumière de Lyon 2)
Ulla Tuomarla (Université de Helsinki)
Marjo Vesalainen (Universität Helsinki)

Registration fee: 150  EUR / 120 EUR (for members of the Modern Language Society) / 90 EUR (students)

Modern Language Society:

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