Panel 1. Subjectivity and Expressivity in LSP-research Empirical insights into the use of expressivity, perception and sensory markers within domain-specific discourse (ENG) (Non-public panel. If interested please contact the organizers)

Organizers:Prof. Dr. Laurent Gautier (

                  Vince Liégeois (

Subjectivity and Expressivity in LSP-research Empirical insights into the use of expressivity, perception and sensory markers within domain-specific discourse

[Keywords] LSP-research – Domain-specific discourse – Expressivity – Subjectivity – Sensory markers – Perception markers

[Context] Language for Special Purposes-research (LSP-research) has a long tradition when it comes to (inter)subjectivity and expressivity in domain-specific discourse. This is particularly linked to the original assumption that such discourses are always neutral, objective and leave no place for emotions – an assumption that has been challenged for many years, especially in works going beyond the mere terminological component of LSP. In this regard, LSP-research has not only taken into consideration domain-specific discourse from a horizontal – that is, across different domains, where we notice a particular interest in gastronomic and, more specifically, oenological discourses (cf. e.g. Diederich 2015; Temmerman & Dubois 2017; Caballero 2017; Demaecker 2017; Caballero et al. 2019; Mancebo-Humbert 2019; Bach 2021) –, but also from a vertical point of view, i.e. across different types of specialised communication, like specialist-specialist communication or specialist-lay communication (cf. e.g. Spitzmüller & Warnke 2011; Roelcke 2014). The latter, i.e. vertical dimension, has proven to be particularly interesting when it comes to research into discourse subjectivity and expressivity, since we often see differences arising between the different modes of specialised communication, depending on the situation, the shared knowledge and the aim of the discourse/interaction. In case of the domain of meteorology, for instance, we notice the use of expressivity markers (e.g. good weather, nice weather) in weather forecasts meant for a wider (non-specialised) audience, whereas no such features occur in more specialised weather forecasts and are even deemed untypical for the domain of science communication (Liégeois 2021).

However, research into domain-specific discourse and subjectivity/expressivity remains rather fragmented. A particular problem, in this regard, is that the studies in this domain deal with a wide range of different, yet similar, study objects – e.g. sensory markers (e.g. Gautier &Bach 2017; Temmerman 2017; Digonnet 2018, Baicchi et al. 2018, Gautier 2018, Winter 2019, Gautier & Bach 2020), sensory and perception markers (e.g. Mancebo-Humbert 2019), emotions/emotionality (e.g. Schwarz-Friesel [2007] 2014; Novakova & Tutin [2009] 2019), expressivity markers (e.g. Gutzmann 2019; Liégeois 2021), intensification (Bordet 2019, Liégeois & Gautier 2021). Consequently, there is no clear consensus on the range of each of these concepts, as well as on the exact differences between them. Another question that remains unanswered is which role medium and text types/registers play in determining the place of such sensory and perception markers, especially with regard to oral interactions. (Mondada 2018a, 2018b).

[Aim of the Workshop] Incidentally, this workshop aims to bring together various researchers in this area, as well as the different insights and methodologies they bring to the table. To this end, we invited researchers who are working with domain-specific discourse and one of the following three discursive features: sensory markers, perception markers and expressivity markers. The different talks of this workshop therefore seek to answer the following three research questions: (i) Which domain-specific needs do the relevant discursive features fulfill? (ii) What does this tell us about subjectivity, expressivity and language on the one hand and the influence of the domain on the other? (iii) What are the potential theoretical findings, within semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, of the three notions of expressivity, subjectivity and sensory/perception markers?

[Talk 1] Vince Liégeois (University of Burgundy/ HHU Düsseldorf) & Laurent Gautier (University of Burgundy) – Discourse subjectivity and expressivity in the past and future of LSP-research: Theoretical questions and methodological challenges

The organisers will start the workshop with some opening remarks, in which they seek to (i) present and discuss the state of the art mentioned above and (ii) explain the structure of the workshop by introducing the different speakers and talks, as well as point out their relevance to the previously defined research questions. Particular attention will be given to the history of LSP-research on the one hand, and the development of research traditions (not exclusively situated within the domain of LSP-research) interested in the subjectivity and expressivity features of discourse. The major role played by linguistic data will also be discussed since the studied domains featured in this conference – oenology, meteorology, literature, hate speech, engineering – do have an experiential basis.

[Talk 2] Björn Technau (Goethe Institut) – The expressive meaning of slurs: Taboos, speaker attitudes, emotions

The 2nd talk concerns the use and (expressive) meaning of group-based slur terms in the domain of hate speech contexts. Such slur terms (faggot, chink, kike) are suitable for hate speech contexts and serve as efficient tools for xenophobic speakers to represent an entire group of people as despicable just because they belong to that group. They are, however, characterised by a multitude of different modes of use that are all emotionally charged, including hate speech, appropriation (Bianchi 2014), and banter (Technau 2018).

When analysing authentic examples of use, one finds various motivation factors and speaker attitudes underlying such uses (Bartlett et al 2014). For instance, speakers express intergroup emotions in such contexts; they mark their group membership, and they declare a sense of belonging. As slurs are considered taboo (or: prohibited), speakers conventionally achieve high levels of expressivity when using them.

This paper explores the expressive meaning of slur terms in more detail, applying conversation analysis to examine empirical data taken from both German and English-speaking contexts, with particular attention towards the use of expressivity markers in oral contexts. In this way, we will see that, in contrast to most approaches in the literature (attitudinal semantics), the attitudes of speakers using slurs are not necessarily negative (Kaplan 2004). Consequently, an analysis model that is more open and adjusted to the reality of our speech communities will be presented, covering all conventions of use, and thus redefining the expressive meaning of slurs (Technau 2020).

[Talk 3] Laurent Gautier (University of Burgundy) – (De)terminologisation processes in wine tasting notes: How expressive are canonical and non-canonical hedonic markers?

Talk nr. 3 analyses the so-called “hedonic content” of wine tasting notes in German. Following the proposal of Gautier (2018), an important part of the “terminology” of wine tasting notes is made up by hedonic markers that cannot always be treated as terms – in the traditional meaning of technical/specialised terms – as they lack a consensual definition acknowledged by field experts. The main challenges of such markers concern at least the following three dimensions: (i) they are directly linked to the gustative experience of the taster/speaker and his/her experiential memory; (ii) they are also linked to the field knowledge and the degree of expertise of the taster/speaker – be it a “true” knowledge or his/her ability to imitate expert discourse and (iii) they are mostly situated at the interface between sensory descriptors and “pure” hedonic expressions.

More specifically, this study will discuss the semantic processes at work along this dividing line between terms and non-terms by analysing both the terminologisation and the determinologisation paths. It relies on a corpus of tasting notes in German, collected from online websites. The case study will be dedicated to the very interesting marker mineralisch (mineral), widely used to describe some types of white wines since about 15 years, and which exactly illustrates our research questions (cf. also Temmerman 2017). According to the degree of expertise, it functions at both levels (sensory and/or hedonic marker) and thus presents a different load of expressivity.

[Talk 4] Christine Demaecker (Université libre de Bruxelles) – From plain word lists to long stories: The expressivity in wine tasting texts

The 4th talk deals with the expressivity features of metaphors in the domain-specific genre of wine tasting texts.

Wine tasting descriptions appear in various media and target many types of consumers; their expressivity varies considerably. These texts can be very short and limited to the enumeration of a series of wine descriptors but their structure can also be more elaborate and even describe imaginative scenarios. What is most striking in their expressivity is their unique terminology which lacks clear definitions and rests essentially on metaphors (Demaecker 2017).

The precise meaning of these descriptions often eludes the reader, whereas some critics sometimes qualify them as being esoteric and as if their creativity escaped any logic. Nevertheless, their rationale is cognitive, because they all express conceptual metaphors as described by Lakoff & Johnson (1980).

The analysis of a bilingual corpus compiled from two iconic wine guides (Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide and Le Guide Hachette des Vins) demonstrates that in English and French, wine tasting metaphors express identical conceptualisations, though with different grammatical elements. These differences reflect the stylistic characteristics of each language. The combination of various metaphors within the same tasting note generates a ‘conceptual integration’ or ‘blend’ as defined by Giles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, providing a unique mental image aimed at reproducing the taster’s sensory perceptions.

[Talk 5] Vince Liégeois (University of Burgundy/ HHU Düsseldorf) –The good, the bad and the ugly weather: A corpus-based analysis on the use of expressivity markers in spoken weather reports

Talk nr. 5 looks at variation in the use of expressivity markers across different kinds of spoken television weather reports. Weather reports are widely known as classic example of a text genre and a form of external specialised communication, meaning domain-specific information is communicated towards a lay audience (Krycki 2009; Brinker et al. [2001] 2018). However, this domain-specific discourse tradition has been almost uniquely studied in its capacity as a text genre and from the perspective of text-genre-linguistics (Grm: Textsortenlinguistik). This implies that linguists have mostly focused on the static discursive features within this discourse tradition, rather than looking at variation and more dynamic features (cf. Gautier 2009).

To this aim, this paper proposes a more variationist and context-sensitive analysis of French and German spoken television weather reports. More specifically, the paper looks at the presence of expressivity markers (e.g. belles éclaircies, beau temps, grand soleil in French) in this domain-specific discourse tradition and considers to which extent these discursive features show qualitative (i.e. regarding the type of expressivity markers) and/or qualitative (i.e. regarding the number of expressivity markers) variation across different types of television weather reports (weather reports within the news-broadcast, as their own program, within other programs, …). Within the domain of meteorology, such features are exclusive to external and lay communication and are not used within the internal specialised discourse. Consequently, an important question regarding these expressivity makers arises, which the proposed talk seems to contextualise more in depth: To which extent are these expressivity markers functional from a communicative perspective and when do they become disfunctional – or distortions (cf. Polese & D’Avanzo 2014: 200) – and unnecessary within the weather reports?

[Talk 6] Didier Bottineau (CNRS/ École normale supérieure de Lyon) – Intersubjectivity and the expressivity of subjectivity in languaging for specific purposes: The case of multimodal corpora in the light of enactivism and enactive linguistics

The 6th talk is based on multimodal corpora (cf. Baldry & Thibault 2021) currently being designed or developed, such as CLAPI-ELE (interactivity for specific purposes in professional environments in Spanish) and a corpus about how speakers in the same language experience and confront their dialects (and the subjective and collective representations that stem from intercultural confrontations). The goals of these corpora include, among other, the following two lines of research:

(i) (i)Theoretical and empirical research in enactive linguistics: how does verbal embodied interactivity specify and distribute the co-emerging subjectivities and their expressions by multimodal channels (linguistic forms as vocal activity in association with prosody, gesturing, gazing, mimicking, attitudes)?

(ii)Didactics of foreign languages for specific purposes (language learning and teaching in engineering schools): how do such corpora provide insights and resources for an improved understanding of the aims of coaching and training (for the purpose of introducing 4 E cognition views - embodied, embedded, enactive, extended in language teaching and evaluating practices)?

In this paper, it is shown that these corpora provide illuminating samples of how experienced and observable subjectivities (construed from interactive viewpoints) are shaped by ongoing embodied interactivity which is itself profiled by the distributed outlooks on the specific purposes of the conversation in its social, cultural, institutional and professional context (cf. Bottineau 2014). The theoretical import is that markers of subjectivity (defined as such in a third person phenomenological perspective) could also be envisaged as operators (in a first-person perspective) which operate in a distributed way both multimodally (verbal and non-verbal processes, described as first and second-order constructs) and intersubjectively (these operators coordinate emerging viewpoints) (cf. Thibault 2020a, 2020b).

[Talk 7] Iva Novakova & Agnès Tutin (Grenoble Alpes University) – Expressive sentential formulae in contemporary novels in French

The final talk will look at expressive sentential phrases (ESP) within the domain of literary texts.

In the field of phraseology, some expressions are closely related to the conditions of enunciation. They have often been called “conversational routines” (Coulmas 2011) or “speech formulae” (Cowie, 2001), since they appear particularly frequent in oral communication and interactions. Among these prefabricated expressions, we find expressive formulae, such as c’est un comble (‘that is the last straw’) or c’est dommage (‘it’s a pity’), which manifest the following characteristics: 1) they are complete sentences; 2) they have a lexical and syntactic frozenness; 3) they have an expressive function: expressing joy, sadness, annoyance, ...

Our aim is to compare some frequent expressive sentential phrases (ESP) – e.g. bon sang ‘dammit’, tu parles! ‘you bet’, ma foi! ‘well’, ma parole! ‘(upon) my word’, bon Dieu ‘for Christ’s sake’ – used in dialogues of contemporary novel corpora, compiled for the Phraserom project (Tutin & Gharbi 2020, Novakova & Siepman 2020; Diwersy et al. 2021), for which we will be working with a corpus of approximately 1.000 novels (published from the 1950s to the present) in French. We assume that, the 'represented' speech in fictional dialogue sequences is a particularly interesting object of study for pragmatics and stylistic studies (Rouayrenc 2010).

Our hypothesis is that the ESPs used in dialogues of the « lowbrow » fiction are not the same as those of general (« highbrow ») fiction. For example, in general fiction, characters have a stronger tendency to use phraseology that has to do with the verbal expression of an introspective movement and corresponds to a more marked reflexivity of the narrator-character (cf. je me dis, ‘I say to myself’ (Gonon & Sorba 2019). In contrast, in « lowbrow fiction », which makes extensive use of « the formulaic and the conventional » (Frow 2005), we found more expressive fomulae like Bon sang! (‘Dammit’). In answer to the second and third research questions of this workshop, we will investigate the pragmatic functions (perception, emotions, subjectivity, etc.) that these ESPs fulfill, and their structuring role in dialogues.


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