The second edition of the conference “Argumentation & Language” will take place from 7 to 9 of February 2018 at USI - Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.
Building on the success of the first ARGAGE conference, held at the University of Lausanne in 2015, the goal of the conference is to further explore the intersections of argumentative and language practices. Scholars are therefore invited to submit proposals dealing with the interrelations between language (its units, its levels, its functions and modes of processing) and the way argumentation functions. Contributions must be related to at least one of the following five research axes:
Argumentation in spoken interaction
In spoken interaction, argumentation is co-constructed by two or more persons and unfolds in tight connection with the management of dialogic interaction at various levels, from turns, topics and sequences to stance and face. Moreover, the combination between linguistic and multimodal resources raises specific problems in a range of different communicative settings. The conference welcomes contributions describing spoken argumentative discourse in professional and institutional activities as well as in domestic or other informal contexts. We also encourage papers that address the methodological problem of how argumentative features can be detected and analysed in interaction and papers that propose applied integrations of Argumentation Theory, Discourse Analysis and Conversation Analysis.
Semantics and argumentation
A second specific focus of this conference will be the relation between semantic analysis and argumentation. Possible research topics include (but are not limited to) the application of formal semantic approaches to the description of argument schemes and dialogue; the link between lexical meaning and norms/values in argumentation; the theoretical relation between basic categories of linguistic meaning (such as causality, negation or modality) and argumentative structures; the relevance of semantic analysis to the normative assessment of reasoning. We also welcome contributions studying the interplay, in argumentation, between explicitly coded meaning and inference from a cognitive perspective.
In line with the previous edition of ARGAGE, we maintain a strong focus on linguistic markers functioning as argumentative indicators, which represent a key aspect of the language embeddedness of argumentation. We welcome contributions that describe linguistic structures under the aspect of how these enhance our understanding of argumentative discourse. Authors are also invited to present discourse analytical studies of argumentative texts focusing on the role(s) of linguistic markers.
Corpora annotation and argumentation
The analysis of digital text corpora is, on one hand, a fundamental instrument of linguistic description, which raises specific methodological problems when the to-be-described linguistic structures are tightly interrelated with partly implicit text structures and rhetorical situations. This is the case of discourse markers in general and of argumentative indicators in particular. We invite contributions that address such methodological problems, from the retrieval of argumentatively relevant structures in texts to their manual or automatic annotation and the quantitative interpretation of annotated data. On the other hand, digital texts are the target of opinion retrieval and argument mining. In this applied perspective, the annotation of argumentative indicators and structures in corpora must be interrogated as to its usefulness in the training phase and application of automatic information retrieval systems. We invite all kinds of contributions about argument mining and annotation in this quite recent field of research.
A complete view of the interrelation between argumentation and language necessarily includes the rhetorical tradition and its focus on rhetorical devices and figures of speech. This area of study has largely contributed to our understanding of argumentative practices and to the study of their effectiveness. Contributions that stem from a rhetorical approach are hence welcome. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) figures of speech and argumentation, the relation between linguistic and non-linguistic semiotic resources in persuasive discourse, and the theoretical division of labour between rhetoric, linguistics and pragmatics in argumentation studies.