October 5th & 6st, 2006 - Toulouse, France

Two-day Worshop organised by the « Sémantique et Corpus » group,
Équipe de Recherche en Syntaxe et Sémantique

[ Version française... ] [ Programme... ]   [ Registration (free and compulsory)... ]

Contact : Anne Condamines -
Place : Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, Maison de la recherche, room D29 [ How to get to University... ]

Although the notion of « textual genre » has long been confined to literary analysis and discourse analysis, it has now become very common in corpus linguistics. Corpus linguists use it as a criterion to classify texts, in an attempt to organize huge amounts of data and to account for their variation. By taking both extralinguistic and linguistic facts into account, it is supposed to be an in-between stage of analysis, located between language in use (discours) and language as a system (langue).

However, far from accounting for variation, this notion raises many questions, and the fact that it is used by people from various disciplines makes it even harder to work out. It is usually found in association with two other notions: that of field, and that of activity. While the former is supposed to help organize knowledge and to be a relatively stable means to organize extralinguistic and linguistic data, the latter is supposed to represent a dynamic point of view and to concern situations in which a linguistic consensus is reached whenever the intended applied goal is the same. In fact, the matter is not so clear-cut. The notion of “field” is not as stable as one may think, and the fact that people share the same “activity” does not necessarily imply that linguistic regularities are to be found.

The notion of “genre” can thus be considered as a major issue in corpus linguistics. First, a wider access to computerized corpora and a wider range of NLP tools make it possible to test out hypotheses very quickly; second, the demand for textual data analysis - put forward mostly by firms - is unprecedented. These two reasons contribute to the increasing number of studies resorting to the notion of textual genre.

The aim of the two-day workshop is to try to better understand what is at stake in the numerous and diverse approaches to genre, and to see how the notion of genre relates to that of field and/or activity.

Invited speakers:
  • S. Bouquet, Univ. Paris X
  • J. Boutet, IUFM, Paris
  • S. Branca-Rosoff, Univ. Paris 3
  • J.- M. Beaudouin, Univ. de Geneva
  • R. Costa, Univ. of Lisbon
  • P. Dury, Univ. of Lyon II
  • I. Kanellos, ENST, Brest
  • M. Rogers, Univ. of Surrey
  • M. Santini, Univ. of Brighton
  • A. Zinna, Univ. Toulouse-Le Mirail