Lecture by Sune VorkSteffensen, September 9, 2005

What is Dialectical Ecolinguistics and what can it do for the language teacher?

by Sune Vork Steffensen, Scandinavian Institute, University of Aarhus, Denmark

Taking as a starting point “the ecological turn,” especially in the humanities and in the linguistic sciences, I present the diverse traditions comprised under the term Ecolinguistics (or Language Ecology) and I suggest a principle that unites these seemingly quite different traditions. I then outline the basic ideas and assumptions of Dialectical Ecolinguistics. Since its object is human beings’ production and consumption of language in particular situations in the totality of the social praxis, every linguistic feature must be described and explained in relation to its function in and implications for the dialogue and the situation. This makes the dialogue the smallest unit of grammar and of linguistic description. I discuss what Dialectical Ecolinguistics can do for the language teacher by analyzing a short passage from a written essay that shows the interrelation of grammar, social structure and awareness/empowerment.

Friday, September 09, 2005
4-6pm, 33 Dwinelle Hall