Članice in člani SDUTSJ smo vabljeni k udeležbi na konferenci društva GERAS, ki bo potekala od  21. – 23. marca 2024. Izvleček prispevka (300 – 500 besed in do 10 bibliografskih referenc) mora biti poslan do 8. decembra 2023. Vse potrebne informacije so na voljo spodaj.

Call for Papers

45th International GERAS Conference

ZHAW Angewandte Linguistik

Winterthur (Switzerland)

 21-23 March 2024

Language use in specialized contexts from an ESP perspective

 One of the defining characteristics of English for specific purposes (ESP) is a strong, transdisciplinary tradition in the observation of language use in specialized  contexts. The expression “language use” has traditionally been employed by scholars in order to emphasize that what people say or write is closely related to the purposes or the functions of communication. Many ESP studies also highlight the fact that the way people actually use a language is somewhat different from the way they think they use it and is even more different from how they think they should use it. As Brown and Yule (1983) claimed, language use is equivalent to “discourse”, a concept based on systemic relations between text and context. The early studies of language use in specialized contexts, genre and register studies in particular, mainly focused on text, context being to a point relegated to the background, as a set of influential factors leading to disciplinary or professionally-based variation patterns. Since those early studies, context has gradually been given a more prominent role in what counts as specialized language use. For example, coherence and cohesion, defined by Halliday and Hasan (1976), have proved powerful concepts helping contemporary scholars provide ample evidence that text and context constitute a unified language system instantiated by text. Triangulated approaches (Angouri 2010), providing thick descriptions of language use through detailed analyses of contextual data, have also evidenced the centrality of context in how we actually use a language. Corpus approaches to language use, although they are fundamentally “textual”, have provided further evidence of context playing a prominent role. For example, the building of small specialized corpora (Koester 2010) sometimes representing extremely specialized discourse varieties, are typically sampled from contextual parameters such as specialized domains or specialized actions and social roles. The latest explorations of specialized milieus and cultures, as well as the epistemological approach to those concepts, are also likely to reinforce the inextricable links between text and context as they are likely to highlight the unified nature of language use in specialized settings.

An increasing number of academic and professional contexts are global, academic, or business organizations where language use is, in reality, multilingual. The phenomenon has led to a myriad of small-scale and large-scale studies showing that English is very often used as a lingua franca (Cogo 2018). Those studies provide us with insights not only into the contextual factors of language choice, but also on the specific nature of English, as illustrated by the “lingua franca core”, a set of key L2 characteristics whether in speech or writing.

Language use is also multimodal. Research into this facet of language use in academic and professional contexts regularly invites scholars to consider language use as part of a more general communication system in which text, images, videos, even gestures, jointly contribute to the achievement of communicative purposes. This stream of studies not only renews what we know about the tenets of effective communication in specialized settings, but also invites us to rethink the way language use, or literacy, is actually transmitted to learners of all kinds, whether they are university students (Dressen-Hammouda and Wigham 2022) or professionals seeking to improve their communicative skills in the global workplace (Whitehouse 2023).

Due to the multifaceted nature of language use in academic and professional contexts, the conference welcomes theoretical approaches, practical approaches, and a combination of both. We invite scholars from all disciplinary fields to address the following issues, among others:

  •       language use in organizational and academic settings: case studies or longitudinal studies,
  •       documenting language use: data and methodologies,
  •       use of English in global, multilingual contexts,
  •       teaching specialized language use and theoretical implications,
  •       impact of artificial intelligence on language use in specialized settings (ESP teaching and learning, machine translation, text generation, automatic rewriting, etc.



Angouri, Jo. 2010. Quantitative, Qualitative or Both? Combining Methods in Linguistic Research. In Litosseliti, Lia (ed.), Research Methods in Linguistics in Linguistics 1. Continuum, 29–45.

Brown, Gillian & George Yule. 1983. Discourse Analysis. Cambridge University Press.

Cogo, Alessia. 2018. ELF and Multilingualism. In Jenkins, Jennifer, Will Baker & Martin Dewey (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca. Routledge, 357–68.

Dressen-Hammouda, Dacia & Ciara Wigham. 2022. Evaluating Multimodal Literacy: Academic and Professional Interactions around Student-Produced Instructional Video Tutorials. System 105, doi: 10.1016/j.system.202.102727.

Halliday, Michael Alexander Kirkwood & Ruqaiya Hasan. 1976. Cohesion in English. Longman.

Koester, Almut. 2010. Building Small Specialised Corpora. In O’Keefe, Anne & Michael McCarthy (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics. Routledge, 66–79.

Whitehouse, Marlies. 2023. Transdisciplinarity in Financial Communication. Writing for Target Readers. Palgrave Macmillan.

Please send your proposals and abstracts (300–500 words with up to 10 bibliographical references max) to marlies.whitehouse@zhaw.chphilippe.millot@univ-lyon3.fr and severine.wozniak@univ-lyon2.fr before 8 December 2023.