4-10 Jul 2022 Aix-en-Provence (France)




Here is the list of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for PALA 2022:

(scroll down for the abstracts and organisers' email addresses)


SIG 1: Pragmatics and Literature


SIG 3: The Stylistic Study of Empathy


SIG 4: Dialects in fiction


SIG 5: Humour Theory and Stylistic Enquiry


SIG 6: Visual arts (with)in literature


SIG 1: Pragmatics and Literature

Organisers: Professor Siobhan Chapman (src@liverpool.ac.uk) and Professor Billy Clark (billy.clark@northumbria.ac.uk)

The Pragmatics and Literature Special Interest Group brings together researchers interested in applying ideas from any area in linguistic pragmatics to the analysis of literary texts, broadly understood.

The aim of the workshop is to promote interaction among those working with different theoretical approaches, while sharing a focus on the pragmatic stylistic analysis of specific literary texts. Building on previous workshops of the SIG, this year we are particularly interested in exploring the theme of ‘Pragmatics and Writing’, and would welcome papers which focus on the ways in which ideas and frameworks for analysis developed in pragmatic theory contribute to the understanding of the practice of writers from a variety of historical periods and of literary genres.


SIG 3: The Stylistic Study of Empathy

Organisers: Carolina Fernandez-Quintanilla (wearemadeofstories@gmail.com) & Fransina Stradling (Fransina.Stradling2@hud.ac.uk)

Why this SIG?

The topic of (narrative) empathy has lately received widespread attention both outside and inside academia. Of particular relevance to stylisticians is the study of empathy in recipients’ engagement with literary and contemporary media. Stylistics has the potential to provide much-needed insight into the role of language in the elicitation of empathy.

PALA is currently seeing a growing interest in (narrative) empathy, as evidenced by the number of talks discussing this topic at PALA conferences in recent years. Some of these were primarily focussed on (narrative) empathy whereas others referred to the phenomenon indirectly and presented research relevant to the current state of empathy scholarship.

(Narrative) empathy is of interest to a broad range of stylisticians, including those particularly interested in emotional response to different forms of media and those with more general interests in cognitive stylistics, empirical stylistics and metaphor. With an established interest in reader response approaches within stylistics[1] and a growing interest in empirical approaches to stylistics, PALA provides the ideal space for the discussion of (narrative) empathy, which affords the use of both types of approaches.

A PALA SIG focussing on (narrative) empathy would therefore create a much-needed space for the exchange of ideas between scholars interested in the phenomenon and would continue to put the study of affective responses to text at the forefront of academic scrutiny within PALA.

Aims of the SIG

The Empathy SIG aims to facilitate the exchange and development of ideas and research methods between stylisticians with an interest in (narrative) empathy within the PALA community.  It furthermore aims to provide a forum that promotes dialogue and encourages interdisciplinary research between stylistics and other fields that study empathy, such as philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, film and literary studies. 


SIG 4: Dialects in fiction

Organiser: Léa Boichard, Université Savoie Mont Blanc (lea.boichard@univ-smb.fr)

This SIG proposes to investigate the representation of dialect in fiction across genres and periods. Dialect is taken to include lexical, grammatical as well as phonetic and phonological features (Trudgill, ([1974] 2000: 5). Researchers interested in the description, analysis and interpretation of the role(s) played by the representation of non-standard forms of English in works of fiction are invited to submit a paper.

Sub-themes include but are not limited to the following:

-       Dialect in film or series adaptations of literary works

-       Dialect in literature across periods

-       Dialect in literature across genres (novels, poetry, drama, comic books, digital fiction, etc.)

-       Dialect and characterization

-       Dialect and readability

-       Dialect and realism

-       Qualitative and quantitative approaches to dialect representation in fiction

-       Aesthetic and/or ideological roles of dialect representation

-       (Questioning) The input of dialect representation in sociolinguistic studies


SIG 5: Humour Theory and Stylistic Enquiry

Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, University of Ilorin, Nigeria (ttobaoju@unilorin.edu.ng)

Arguably one of the most persuasive manifestations of transmissions between style and sense is the activation of comic feeling through the stylistic manipulation of words. Laughter is typically a spontaneous eruption, in response to lingual, aural, visual or tactile stimuli - an explicit perlocutionary effect. However, the precise mechanism by which laughter is created through language has always been a source of disagreement among theorists of the comic, and especially those who examine the comic from the perspective of language. The linguistic issue in comic aesthetics is complicated by the two related facts. The first is that the major theories of the comic, namely “incongruity,” “superiority” and “relief,” are not linguistic or stylistic but psychological theories. Distinguishing between psychological, genetic and linguistic factors in the constitution and appreciation of humour is therefore a challenge (see Cohn, 2014 for a representation of “anti-language views” of the comic). The second complication, which is closely linked to the first, is that even amongst linguists and especially stylisticians, there is no agreement on the precise mechanism by which language creates humour, since similar linguistic stimuli are known to have elicited different and sometimes contradictory reactions. Indeed, the humor styles questionnaire (Martin et al, 2003) is premised on individual differences in comic appreciation. Style “sceptics” from Fish (1982) have also cast doubt on the ability of texts to confer significances (but cf. Toolan, 1996), while apparent conflict between rhetorical and linguistic elements in the constitution of the comic has also been pointed out (Oloruntoba-Oju, 1992/1998

Against the above background, stylistic enquiry into the comic continues to be an interesting challenge. This panel invites submissions on the linguistic challenge in humour aesthetics, with emphasis on how linguistic elements demonstrably activate sensations of the comic. Theoretical postulations on the comic and empirical representations from different textual sources in different media and from different regions are welcome.

Sub-themes include but are not limited to the following:

  • Linguistic and stylistic models in the analysis of humour
  • Rhetorical and Linguistic Games in Humour and Comic Aesthetics
  • Ethnicity and humour: Does ethnicity affect the appreciation of comic aesthetics?
  • Age, Gender and Class in the analysis of humour and comic aesthetics
  • Psychological “Humour styles” and the role of language
  • Illocution and Perlocution in Humour and Comic Aesthetics
  • Genre approach to humour aesthetics
  • African and Western humour styles


SIG 6: Visual arts (with)in literature

Organisers: Eirini Panagiotidou (MPanagiotidou@wcupa.edu) and Polina Gavin (160232923@aston.ac.uk)

The interface between visual arts and literature has attracted considerable attention from scholars in the last decades. Within the context of stylistics, multimodality has served as the primary framework used to approach the integration of different media. In this SIG, we would like to expand the investigation of this relationship and invite colleagues working in diverse fields of literary research (for example, ekphrasis, multimodality, intermediality, creative writing) to contribute to the discussion.


If you would like your paper to be considered for inclusion in one of these SIGs, please upload your proposal via the PALA 2022 website, indicating in your title which SIG you are submitting your abstract to (example: Murder on the Orient Express SIG 3 Crime)

Please also send your abstract to the SIG organiser(s)

Papers not accepted for inclusion in SIGs will still be considered for inclusion in the main conference.



Online user: 1