Special Interest Groups


Organisers: Dr Ulrike Tabbert, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield (ulritab@googlemail.com) and Dr Ilse Ras, Oxford Brookes University (i.a.ras@live.nl)

Following successful panels at the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 PALA conferences, and the creation of an edited book based on these panels (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, edited by Dr Tabbert and Professor John Douthwaite), we propose to again host a panel focusing on crime writing. More specifically, this SIG is aimed at PALA (as well as non-PALA) researchers who are, broadly, interested in (re)presentations of crime in fiction and non-fiction, as well as crime and criminal justice system-related language. This can include crime fiction, police procedural fiction, crime news, and language in the legal system, amongst others. It aims to offer researchers interested in crime-related topics the opportunity to communicate current research and debate concepts and ideas.

In previous years, papers were presented on crime writing in mediums ranging from criminal justice reports, to crime news, to crime fiction, analysing aspects ranging from (critical) stylistics, to multimodality, to pragmatics.

In keeping with the theme of the 2019 PALA conference, we especially invite papers examining crime writing that transcends boundaries, both in the sense of trans-local crime and in the sense of disciplinary boundaries.

As always, we also especially encourage papers by interdisciplinary scholars and under-/postgraduate/PhD/ECA researchers and welcome those new to PALA.

We also welcome everybody to sit in and listen to our Crime SIG presentations at PALA. 


Organiser: Dr Eva Maria Gomez-Jimenez, University of Granada (emgomez@ugr.es)

The term graphology (also referred to as graphemics) was first brought into use in linguistics as a mode of communication analogous to that of phonology, but further related more specifically to spelling, punctuation and graphic resources in language. Within stylistics, graphology was identified as one of the different levels of analysis in which foregrounded features might be observed. However, stylistic research undergone since then has focused mainly on other levels of linguistic analysis, with some exceptions. Recent developments in multimodality have studied some aspects that might be considered within the umbrella of graphology, typography probably being the prominent one. But many questions are still to be answered relating graphology as a level of stylistic analysis.

Following the panel at the 2018 PALA conference, this Graphology SIG aims at continuing the work of last year’s PALA conference and providing stylisticians with a space for discussion and further collaboration on graphological issues. Some possible topics include (but are not limited to):

-       The role of graphology in Stylistics

-       Graphology in literature

-       Graphology in news media (i.e. printed press)

-       Graphology in social media (i.e. texting, Twitter, Facebook)

-       Aspects of analysis within graphology

-       Graphology and multimodality

-       Conventional and unconventional graphological patterns

-       Problems for the study of graphology


Organisers: Dr Alex Broadhead, University of Liverpool (A.Broadhead@liverpool.ac.uk) and Dr Victorina Gonzalez Diaz, University of Liverpool (vgdiaz@liverpool.ac.uk)

This panel is for papers focusing on the intersection between literature, style and language change. Abstracts relating to any aspect of historical stylistics, from individual features to wider theoretical concerns will be considered. We would especially welcome, however, any abstracts that address the wider conference theme (‘Stylistics Without Borders’), for instance the historical dimensions of code-switching in literature or issues relating to language and period boundaries.


Mapping the development of discourse and language practices in technologically mediated communication

Stephen Pihlaja, Newman University (S.Pihlaja@staff.newman.ac.uk)

Dr Helen Ringrow, University of Portsmouth (helen.ringrow@port.ac.uk)

This colloquium explores the different ways in which stylisticians approach discourse in contemporary media platforms and the ways in which the mediating technologies affect the stylistic choices that individuals make in social media contexts. Increasingly, the lines between new and social media, and traditional ‘old’ media are becoming blurred. Newspapers are now read regularly online and in social media space like Facebook. Alongside Newsworthiness, now Shareworthiness is also an important factor in how information is interacted with and disseminated in online spaces. Changes in reading practices (which can include the sharing of and commenting on texts) provides many affordances for the development of how texts and text are perceived and challenged. This includes changes in perceptions of authoritative producers of texts, such as news organisations and publishers. At the same time, text genres and practices developed before the Internet continue to proliferate in online spaces as well as inspiring new genres and reading and writing practices. Presentations in this colloquium will discuss the ways in which investigating interaction in technologically mediated spaces — in Twitter exchanges, Reddit comment threads, Facebook groups, among a myriad of other platforms — offers the potential to understand how language develops in relationship to a variety of different contexts, co-texts, and participants.


Organisers: Professor Siobhan Chapman (src@liverpool.ac.uk) and Professor Billy Clark (billy.clark@northumbria.ac.uk)

The Pragmatics and Literature Special Interest Group brings together researchers interested in applying ideas from any area in linguistic pragmatics to the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of literary texts.

The aim of the workshop is to promote interaction among those working with different theoretical approaches and a variety of literary time periods and genres, while sharing a focus on the pragmatic stylistic analysis of literary texts. Building on previous workshops of the SIG, this year’s workshop will be particularly concerned with the ways in which ideas and frameworks for analysis developed in pragmatic theories contribute to understanding of the production, interpretation or evaluation of specific literary texts. In response to this year’s conference theme, we are also interested in papers which explore the connections and relationships between pragmatic theory and other analytic approaches to specific literary texts.


Organisers: Dr Esterino Adami, University of Turin (esterino.adami@unito.it), Dr M’Balia Thomas, Kansas University (mbthomas@ku.edu), Dr Daria Tunca, University of Liège (dtunca@uliege.be)

Stylistics and the study of postcolonial literatures are both established fields of research, but interactions between these areas are still relatively limited – no sustained methodological cross-fertilization between postcolonial studies on the one hand, and “mainstream” contemporary stylistics on the other, has ever really taken place.

This SIG seeks to encourage precisely such mutual disciplinary enrichment by inviting contributions that explore postcolonial literatures from a stylistic perspective. The term “postcolonial” as it is used here primarily refers to the work of writers from countries once colonized by European powers but, following a general tendency within the area of postcolonial studies, the term is also understood to include creative writing that more broadly deals with the impact of colonization upon the contemporary world (diasporic and refugee narratives, literature on climate change in the global South, etc.). Discussing such postcolonial issues at PALA seems all the more important as the host city of the 2019 conference, Liverpool, is well-known for its role in the transatlantic slave trade – unarguably one of the most violent atrocities in colonial history, and one which has had major consequences on the postcolonial world.