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Plenary Speakers

Suresh Canagarajah

Suresh Canagarajah 

"Toward a Cosmopolitan Community" 
 Cosmopolitanism doesn't necessarily involve globe-trotting. The global permeates every local community today. The challenge is how to conduct inter-cultural relations as we negotiate relationships with diverse peoples of the world in our own community. In this talk, I present a perspective on intercultural relations from precolonial South Asia, to consider how this perspective might challenge contemporary ways of theorizing cosmopolitanism.

 Suresh Canagarajah is the Kirby Professor in Language Learning and Director of the Migration Studies Project at Pennsylvania State University. He holds a joint appointment in the departments of English and Applied Linguistics. He teaches courses on World Englishes, Second Language Writing, Postcolonial Studies, and Theories of Rhetoric and Composition in the departments of English and Applied Linguistics. He has taught before in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and the City University of New York (Baruch College and the Graduate Center). His book Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching (OUP, 1999) won Modern Language Association’s Mina Shaughnessy Award for the best research publication on the teaching of language and literacy. His subsequent publication Geopolitics of Academic Writing (UPittsburgh Press 2002) won the Gary Olson Award for the best book in social and rhetorical theory. His edited collection Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice (Erlbaum, 2005) examines linguistic and literacy constructs in the context of globalization. His study of World Englishes in Composition won the 2007 Braddock Award for the best article in the College Composition and Communication journal. He is currently analyzing interview transcripts and survey data from South Asian immigrants in Canada, USA, and UK to consider questions of identity, community, and heritage languages in diaspora communities.

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Ulla Connor

Ulla Connor 

"Corpus Linguistics in Intercultural Rhetoric"
Corpus linguistic methods have become an important part of intercultural studies of writing. In this presentation, I will review relevant concepts related to corpus design and methods of analysis. Johansson (1998) classifies corpora in cross-cultural studies into three categories: comparable corpora, translation corpora, and learner corpora. Corpus analysis has been described as either bottom-up or top-down (Biber et al., 2008). Intercultural rhetoric has introduced to corpus analysis a necessary concept “tertium comparationis,” which assures the comparability of texts across languages and cultures (Moreno, 2008). Published empirical studies will be discussed to explain these relevant concepts. Finally, I will address the tension between the rigor of quantitative corpus design and the need for sensitivity to situations, contexts, and purposes of writing. 

Ulla M. Connor, Barbara E. and Karl R. Zimmer Chair in Intercultural Communication at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, she served as the founding director of IUPUI's academic English as a Second Language Program from 1985 to 1994 and since 1998 has served as the founding director of the Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication in the School of Liberal Arts. In 80 published articles and book chapters and in four books, Professor Connor's research has played a key role in the establishment of a field of study in second language acquisition called contrastive rhetoric. With an interdisciplinary approach that includes theories of linguistics, rhetoric, and intercultural communication combined with research methods from discourse analysis, anthropology, business case studies, and linguistic corpora, Professor Connor has defined the field with the now-classic book Contrastive Rhetoric (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Professor Connor was elected as a member of Societas Scientiarum Fennica in 2001. She has been distinguished visiting professor at Åbo Akademi University, Finland (1994, 2000); lecturer in the Distinguished Lecture Series at Temple University Japan (1995, 1996, 1999); visiting researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, 1995; and guest research professor at Lund University, Sweden, 1998, and the University of León, Spain, 2002 and 2003. Since 1985 she has received 26 grants, among them research grants from the Exxon Education Foundation, Lilly Endowment, and the Educational Testing Service. Professor Connor has been active in TESOL, serving as Chair of the Research Interest Section in 1992-1993.

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Eric Friginal

Eric Friginal  "Linguistic Characteristics of Intercultural Call Center Interactions."
Call center discourse in developed economies like the U.S. has become a normal part of everyday life: making a phone call to order a product, request a replacement part, or ask for technical assistance, etc. In recent years, many of these call centers have been “outsourced” to countries with available English-speaking human resources and relatively low labor expenses like India and the Philippines. As a result, most callers have experienced intercultural telephone interactions, sometimes with communication difficulties. In this presentation, I will talk about the linguistic characteristics of outsourced call center discourse, based on a large-scale corpus analysis of call center interactions between Filipino customer service representatives and U.S.-based callers. 
 

Eric Friginal, an assistant professor in applied linguistics at Georgia State University, received his PhD in applied linguistics from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2008. His main research program focuses on the exploration of professional, spoken interaction; the acquisition of fluency in ESL; and the study of language, culture, and cross-cultural communication in the context of outsourced call centers in the Philippines and India serving American customers. He makes use of corpus and computational tools as well as qualitative and quantitative research approaches in analyzing and interpreting linguistic patterning from corpora. He has received funding in support of his research from a U.S.-owned call center company operating in the Philippines, India, China, and Costa Rica. His present work aims to contribute linguistic data that could be used for materials production and the development of training curricula in language proficiency and task performance of ESL speakers engaged in business or customer service interactions with native speakers of English. He was a recipient of a Fulbright grant from 1998-2000 and his studies have been published in World Englishes, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Discourse Studies, and Language Policy, among others. He is the author of The Language of Outsourced Call Centers: A Corpus-Based Study of Cross-Cultural Communication (John Benjamins) (Volume 34 of the Studies in Corpus Linguistics series).

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Guillaume Gentil

 Guillaume Gentil "Bilingual Corpus-Assisted Discourse Analysis: Promises, Challenges, and Avenues"
The combination of corpus linguistics tools with critical discourse analysis or genre analysis is being heralded-and increasingly used-as a fruitful methodological synergy for discourse studies. Yet its application remains timid and fraught with difficulties in intercultural rhetoric research. This presentation will outline the hopes and challenges of developing a corpus-assisted discourse methodology for a comparative study of a bilingual corpus. The argument will be illustrated from a English-French corpus of 741 briefs submitted by Quebec residents to the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences. The systematic analysis of the briefs across languages reveals distinct and yet overlapping English and French discourses of Quebec, nationhood, and identity, providing insight into the discursive production and reproduction of the so-called "two solitudes" constituted by the two main language groups in the province.
 

Guillaume Gentil is Associate Professor at Carleton University's School of Linguistics and Language Studies in Ottawa, Canada. His research focuses on bilingual writers, professional biliteracy, and bilingual intercultural communication in Canadian contexts. His latest program of research, funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, examines language practices and language training in the Canadian federal service. His research work has been published in Written Communication, the Canadian Modern Language Review, and the Second Language Writing Series (Parlor Press).

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