Previous iMean conferences

iMean 5 (2017)

iMean 5 was held at the UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre (ECC) between 6 April - 8 April 2017.

The fifth iMean conference maintained its traditional focus on meaning in social interaction, with a thematic orientation to language and change.

Invited plenary speakers were:

  • Gisle Andersen, NHH Norwegian School of Economics
  • Christine Béal, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3
  • Jenny Cheshire, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Michael Haugh, University of Queensland
  • Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Zuraidah Mohd Don, University of Malaya

We considered changes at the linguistic level but also how changes at a societal level affect linguistic usage and our conceptions and analysis of it. Our increasingly interconnected and fast-moving world has led to an upsurge in mobility and to the possibility of greater variation and change in language use. The linguistically diverse nature of contemporary societies has implications for social justice, with potentially differential access to the public sphere.

Different contexts of use and new media may also bring new styles and manners of expression. As society changes, so must our conceptual and epistemological models and old questions and concepts require new approaches and angles.

i-Mean 4 (2015) 

i-Mean 4 was held at the University of Warwick between 9 April - 11 April 2015.  The conference addressed the relationship between 'Language and Impact'. Further details can be found via the University of Warwick conference page.

i-Mean 3 (2013)

The conference aimed to explore whether and to what extent bringing together different methodological and theoretical approaches can:

  • Enhance understanding of identity attribution in interaction.
  • Lead to theoretically robust methodological innovation.

Exploring how speakers use language to claim an identity has been explored but also challenged in the various traditions (ranging from mainstream sociolinguistic theory to linguistic anthropology). In the broadly defined field of sociolinguistics, there are many conceptualisations of 'identity'. Through language, we actively construct and negotiate our self and social identities. It is through language that we index, directly and indirectly, who we are, how we wish to be perceived and where we (want to) belong. We see identity as (not exclusively but to a large extent) a linguistic phenomenon, dynamic and constantly evolving.

i-Mean 2 (2011)

The conference addressed the relationship between context and meaning, how context may be defined, how meaning is interpreted in context, how speakers create and negotiate context in interaction, and how context is dealt with in different research traditions. We seek to explore ways in which researchers can fruitfully work across methodological and disciplinary boundaries. Particularly in the (broadly defined) field of discourse analysis, there are widely recognised approaches which are often associated with specific methodological tools.

The conference aimed to explore whether and to what extent bringing together different methodological and theoretical approaches can:

  • Enhance understanding of meaning in interaction.
  • Capture the contextual information which speakers draw upon dynamically in interaction.
  • Lead to theoretically robust methodological innovation.

Papers were invited from researchers working across different linguistic fields and traditions, focusing on any aspect of meaning and context. 

i-Mean 1 (2009)

The conference aimed to disseminate cutting edge, multi-disciplinary research in the area of meaning in interaction. It  was unique in bringing together scholars working on meaning in interaction and others working on the impact of interaction on language structure. The two constituencies share an interest in the manner in which meaning is co-constructed and negotiated between interactants, thus leading to a form/function reconfiguration. The complexities of the interpretation of meaning can be more acute in intercultural encounters.

The conference thus extended its scope to include the relatively new sub-discipline of intercultural pragmatics. It was  timely in reflecting a rising interest across a number of fields in issues in interpreting meaning. The conference hosted two colloquia on Workplace Discourse and Meaning in Diachrony.

Download and view the conference proceedings.

Key note speakers:

  • Professor Janet Holmes (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ)
  • Professor Elizabeth Traugott (Stanford University, USA)
  • Dr Helen Spencer-Oatey (University of Warwick)
  • Dr Véronique Traverso (Université de Lyon)

i-Mean 1 was supported by: 

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