Language in Society recognizes the importance of the social context of language use and has significant projects underway several domains.

Language, caregiving and health

Linguistic phenomena are often key factors at play in any health care or personal service situations, and ASLAN members have carried out several projects in which they questioned language in relation to health from a cognitive, psycholinguistic, linguistic and interactional perspective. In certain projects, specific pathologies such as aphasia, Alzheimer’s disease, dylexia or ADHD have been studied, wherein other projects concentrate on language’s role in the care-giving process.

Education and Learning

ASLAN research regarding teaching, training, and/or learning is aborded from the angle of the communicative interactions between the participating actors. Beyond the differences in theoretical approaches, the shared hypothesis is that knowledge transmission and learning depend strongly on communicative practices and situated semiotic processes, which in turn are largely dependent on the material, cognitive and social characteristics of the situations. ASLAN has supported many projects not only on K-12 education, but also on vocational training, teacher training, continuing education and informal education.

Confronting spoken and written practices

The links between spoken and written practices is addressed by our research. This exploration is interesting both when exclusively written language (language practices online and involved in digital communication, in literature, in poetry, in note-taking etc.), and when written language is expressed orally (the ‘oralized’ appropriation by actors of written texts in cinema, theatre, novel dialogues etc.). Furthermore, other settings such as children’s development of oral and written productions are also considered, as well as human-machine and machine-machine communication.

Enactment of languages and Discourse analysis

Our work is at the junction of discourse analysis and a pragma-enunciative approach of enunciation. Research is divided into three essential domains.
The first domain focuses on the analysis of both direct and indirect expression of emotions in discourse. Approaches involving fading enunciation and Ducrot’s disjunction of locutor and enunciator are used with the objective of describing diverse enunciative sources or points of view. The second domain questions the reigning dichotomy of reason against emotion or the use of the enunciative approach of viewpoints to characterize the notion of figure, understood as figurative work that surpasses literary tropes. The third domain uses discourse analysis to study interactions that are filtered by different media and then used in a pedagogical context.

Programming discourse

Other ASLAN work related to this area concerns visual enunciation and in particular the polemical tensions between images in public spaces such as museums, urban areas, and the Internet. All of these domains are federated by a critical and heuristic reactivation of the notion of paradigm (Basso Fossali & Colas-Blaise, 2017) within language sciences and concerning the study of corpora within different forms of Discours Programmateurs. This concept was coined by Jean-Michel Adam (2001) and is defined as “texts which say to do and how to do”. They belong to a “very large family that begin with injunctive and procedural texts and move to different forms of advice”. The apparent monological version of “programming discourse” hides a major elaboration of intersubjective relations. Notably one moves from strategies of interlocution strongly linked to injunctions (prescriptions and interdictions) to modal nuances that are more like recommendations or even suggestions. An international conference on programming discourse was partially financed by ASLAN on October 20-21, 2017.
Programming texts call for on the one hand, an articulation between the strategic intelligence of action and the syntagmatic legibility of the discourse that presents it. On the other hand, they call for a paradigmatic intelligence that through a division into sequences leads to accounting for a technical mastery and a separation of the prototypical operations to accomplish (Rossi-Gensane, 2016).