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Language in society (LaSo)

The work package « Language in Society » focuses on societal-related issues of research. It describes and analyses multimodal social interactions as well as usages, discourses and other forms of observables in particular social situations. The research concerns face-to-face interaction, online interaction and the usage of digital environments for specific purposes. In a general way, it aims to contribute to understand and improve sociability and socialization. Research is conducted with regard to different languages and/or cultural spaces. It investigates the role of multilingualism and language diversity, deals with language development, language learning and language as part of social interaction and, finally, questions and evaluates digital environments from a usage-based perspective. Beyond the variety of languages, situations or methods, ASLAN members focus on identifying and analysing aspects of socialization as use of language and through the use of language.

I- Language, caregiving and health

ASLAN members carry out projects involving different languages, situations and pathologies. Data are collected for instance in France, China and Lebanon, involving interactions between health professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, psychologists, speech therapists) and patients (adults and children) as well as interactions in nurseries and interactions between persons suffering from visual impairments. Research also includes situations involving mediated interaction, for instance with digital systems employed to improve interaction for people with language disorders.

They aim at contributing, as linguists, to better understand and deal with frequent societal-related issues in different situations of care, related to different health problems (dyslexia, mental health, language development etc.), and to different types of settings (face to face interaction between health professionals and patients or among professionals, interpreter-mediated consultations, screen-based interaction, etc.). As informaticians, they aim to improve digital tools for people with different kinds of impairment. Among their major areas of reflexivity and intervention is interaction between patients and caregivers, which is considered both as a general social practice and as a practice of care.

Research methods include qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods from cognitive, psycholinguistic, linguistic and interactional perspectives, such as explicitation interviews (Vermersch), semi-experimental methods, multimodal conversation analysis, ethnography of communication, discourse analysis, surveys, comprehensive ethnology etc. They deal with different forms of interaction (oral, written or polysemiotic). From a usage based or an interactional perspective ASLAN members develop models and tools to improve digital systems or to facilitate the interaction between patients and health professionals.

Projects (ASLAN1): ETUDYS, DYS’R’ABLE, FLEXIDYS (dyslexia at university), MALICE (Alzheimer’s disease and emotion), ALIBI, ALBINOR (Alzheimer’s disease and bilinguisme), SWYS (parasomnia), TDAH (speech therapy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), IAA (interaction with aphasic patients, atypical interaction), MILSA, REMILART (migrants/asylum seekers and general or mental healthcare), CIPSY (interaction between health professionals), THESEE (interaction between health professionals and patients).

II- Language development, Learning, Education, Training

The research carried out in this theme studies situations regarding teaching, training, and learning from the angle of the interactions between the participating actors and/or interactions with digital learning environments. These situations can vary from
teachers training, formal and informal learning, first, second or third language acquisition and language development, integration of international students into educational settings to the analysis of cultural and scientific mediation.

Beyond the differences in situations and theoretical approaches, the shared hypothesis is that knowledge transmission and learning depend strongly on 1) communicative practices and situated semiotic processes, and 2) on digital learning environments providing learners with adapted and personalized pedagogical content, self-regulation tools and motivational affordances.
The various works carried out in ASLAN aim at understanding, identifying and modeling the different aspects involved in these situations (such as learning processes, engagement in pedagogical tasks, human conversation, bilingualism development or social practices)
to better support knowledge transmission.

The methodologies developed rely mostly on the production and analysis of videographic recordings, supplemented by other types of data (interviews, ethnographic observations, questionnaires, document collection) and on collecting interaction traces with digital environments. Such empirical material allows for detailed interaction analyses, while taking into account the particularities of the contexts. The complex corpora produced are then analyzed using concepts and methods from different approaches: interactional linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, didactics, interaction traces analysis, human modeling and meta-modeling (engagement, motivation, learning), machine learning, user centered design and evaluation.


III- Plurilingual Societies

Many societies are today characterized by mobility, and therefore by different forms of multilingualism. According to research perspectives, plurilingualism can concern languages ​​spoken in France as well as elsewhere in the world (Latin America, Africa, Asia, etc.). It can be envisaged in very diverse situations, including contacts between languages that are ​​very different from a linguistic and / or societal point of view, such as situations of migration or linguistic contact between dominant languages ​​and languages ​​with oral traditions, where these latter are sometimes very threatened.

Research on these situations of linguistic diversity share the same attention for the description and study of the social contexts of language contact, plurilingual communication, interculturality and language socialization. The plurality of possible approaches may involve overlapping with the other themes of the "Language in Society" work package and common methods, of linguistic, sociolinguistic or ethnographic inspiration. The corpora collected from fieldwork can be made up of a wide variety of materials: spontaneous interactions in an ecological situation, life stories and elements of oral literature, or data testifying to linguistic representations, speeches or ideologies.

The research carried out within the framework of the “Plurilingual Societies” axis contributes to the defense and promotion of linguistic diversity, on an individual scale or that of a group or an entire community, in an international context promoting cultural diversity, mother tongue education or the defense of indigenous peoples and languages.