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45th Annual conference of the German Linguistic Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft, DGfS)

7-10 March 2023

Topic: Linguistic creativity and routine

With the topic of the 45th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society at the University of Cologne, Linguistic Creativity and Routine, we would like to shed light on the communication system language from the perspective of the interplay of these two forces. On the one hand, the cognitive and social system of language is highly flexible and adaptable. On the other hand, it is based on conventions, norms and rules, without which successful communication is not possible.

Interlocutors may and must be creative in order to achieve their communicative goals efficiently. At the same time, they must use routines to understand each other. Creativity can test the limits of routines, disregard routines, and change routines, for example during historical language change. Routines support creativity and can challenge it, for example, when they have or appear to have fuzzy boundaries.

The interplay of linguistic creativity and linguistic routines can favour but also endanger the success of communication. The second aspect represents an interesting, less considered perspective in the study of language that we want to explore. Central questions arising here are, on the one hand, which aspects of the interplay between creativity and routine cause or can cause problems in communication, and, on the other hand, which resources and strategies are used to overcome problems. Both sets of questions – problem creation and problem solving – have individual-specific, language community-specific, and cultural components. For instance, creative deviations from or extensions of routines may be perceived or tolerated differently depending on individual abilities and preferences. Problem solving may also differ individually, for example, depending on cognitive resources or on (multi-)linguistic backgrounds.

At the 45th Annual Meeting of the German Linguistic Society we will focus on the interplay between linguistic creativity and routine. The topic offers the opportunity to intensively discuss language in a broad spectrum of, among others, linguistic-systemic, cognitive and social aspects with regard to successful and also unsuccessful communication. The 16 workshops at the meeting will address this topic but also other cutting-edge research topics in linguistics.