Martin Centre's 8th International Conference on Appliable Linguistics
From November 6 to 8, 2023, the 8th International Conference on Appliable Linguistics: Appliable Linguistics in the Digital Age was successfully held by the Martin Centre for Appliable Linguistics (“Martin Centre” hereafter), School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). More than eighty experts, scholars, and students home and abroad gathered together to discuss interdisciplinary topics such as digitization and discourse, digitization and communication, and AI and language research.
Prof. Shang Biwu, Deputy Dean of the School of Foreign Languages at SJTU, hosted the opening ceremony. Prof. Hu Kaibao, Dean of the Institute of Corpus Studies and Applications, Shanghai International Studies University, Prof. Chang Hui, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages at SJTU, and Prof. Wang Zhenhua, Director of the Martin Centre, deliver their opening speeches at the opening ceremony. Eighteen experts from China and abroad gave plenary talks at the conference.
On Nov. 6, Prof. Zhu Keyi from Fudan University gave the first plenary talk, which was entitled “From the Perspective of Rhetorical Ability: The Functional Representation of ‘X+lì (力)’”. Prof. Zhu focused on the morpheme “lì (力)” and analyzed the structure of “X+lì (力)” by elaborating on its generative rules, interpersonal significance, and rhetorical motivation against the backdrop of large language models.
Prof. Yang Yanning from East China Normal University presented a plenary talk entitled “Linguistics and AI: The Next Decade”, and teased out the mutually supportive development of artificial intelligence and linguistic research. Prof. Yang also talked about the intersections as well as prospective studies on linguistics and AI.
Prof. Li Zhanzi from National University of Defense Technology gave a plenary talk with the title “Studying the Ideational Meaning in the Context of Metaverse”. Taking a Systemic Functional perspective, Prof. Li analyzed the connections between the Metaverse and the construction of transitivity, and explained the ideational changes manifested in the Metaverse context.
The plenary talk delivered by Prof. Liu Meichun from City University of Hong Kong was entitled “The Interactional Tendency of New Media Lexical Semantics”. Prof. Liu explored the interactional development of Chinese new words in terms of lexical semantics, grammar, and pragmatics based on the theories of Interactional Linguistics and Usage-based Grammar.
Prof. Liu Chengyu from Southwest University gave a plenary talk with the title “Translanguaging Practice under Social Semiotic Perspective”. Prof. Liu shared his views on foreign language acquisition in multilingual environments, and explained the significance of translanguaging practice from a social semiotic point of view.
Prof. Ni Chuanbin from Nanjing Normal University presented a plenary talk entitled “Examining the Emergent Abilities of Large Language Models via Emergence”. Prof. Ni introduced the development of natural language processing and large language models, defined the term “emergence” with examples, and talked about how the emergent abilities of LLMs would cast new light on cognitive research and linguistic intelligence.
The conference also invited Director Sun Jing from the Academic Department of Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press to introduce their academic publications.
After the plenary talks, six parallel presentation sessions were held. The topics of parallel presentations included new media discourse analysis, legal discourse studies, corpus linguistic studies, among others.
On Nov. 7, Prof. J. R. Martin from University of Sydney gave his plenary talk “Theory, Description and Practice in Appliable Linguistics: A Systemic Functional Perspective”. Prof. Martin introduced the history and development of Systemic Functional Linguistics, expounded on the theories by drawing upon examples in pedagogical linguistics and forensic linguistics, and demonstrated the importance of language practice and appliability to the development of linguistic theories.
Prof. Yu Hui from Beijing Normal University presented a plenary talk with the title “A Comparative Study of English and Chinese Stance Adverbials in Academic Discourse”. Prof. Yu highlighted stance adverbials which could be used to express emotion, attitude, judgment, and evaluation, and closely studied their features in English and Chinese academic discourse.
Prof. Yang Min from Renmin University of China delivered the plenary talk “A Topos-based Analysis of Gender Identities and Degendered Identities in Courtroom Discourse”. Prof. Yang explored how gender and degendered identities were constructed with ideological prejudice and rhetorical topoi based on topos analysis, so as to promote gender literacy.
Prof. Ju Yumei from Qilu University of Technology delivered a plenary talk entitled “The Rhetorical Construction of Reports on ’Hi-tech Olympics’”. Prof. Ju adopted the theories of constitutive rhetoric in analyzing Chinese and foreign media coverage on “Hi-tech Olympics” to see how the national identity of China was constructed and to unveil the attitudes of foreign media.
Prof. Yan Shiqing from Suzhou University gave a plenary talk entitled “The Philosophical Meaning of Semogenesis”. Prof. Yan elaborated on the founding and development of Semogenesis, and talked about the appliability and developmental potential of Systemic Functional Linguistics and Semogenesis from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Prof. Miao Xingwei from Beijing Normal University presented the plenary talk “The Interlingual Conversion of Appraisal Meaning and the Translator’s Stance”. Prof. Miao investigated evaluative standards and value orientations in the appraisal meaning by looking at translation strategies adopted by translators, and explored the related cultural differences and ideological effects.
Prof. Xu Yuchen from Xi'an International Studies University gave a plenary talk with the title “The Endogenic Structure of Modality”. Prof. Xu closely examined modality, an indispensable element in language, and viewed it as a multidimensional complex that constructed the modal semantic system through dimensions such as semantic type, orientation, and intensity.
In the afternoon of the second day, there were also six parallel presentation sessions. The topics covered multimodal discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, among others.
On Nov. 8, Prof. Yang Linxiu from Shanxi University delivered the plenary talk “Academic Discourse Analysis based on the Move-Step Framework”. Prof. Yang established the Move-Step framework by studying English academic discourse, and explained with examples how the framework could be applied to benefit the research and teaching of academic writing.
The plenary talk given by Prof. Tang Qingye from Shanghai University was entitled “Interactive Strategies of Narrative Empathy: Analyzing Viewers’ Comments on a CGTN Poverty Alleviation Video”. Prof. Tang highlighted the importance of understanding the audience in sharing our poverty relief experiences, and analyzed the poverty alleviation video on CGTN to explore the strategies of constructing narrative empathy.
Dr. He Yufei from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies presented the plenary talk “Analyzing science interactive animations: A Systemic Functional Semiotic perspective”. Dr. He introduced the Systemic Functional Semiotic framework of analyzing science animations, and demonstrated how to systematically describe different types of animation through exemplified analyses.
The last plenary talk “Re-orienting Social Semiotic Analyses of Images for Knowledge Building: Addressing Complexity and Recognizability” was given by Prof. Len Unsworth from Australian Catholic University. Prof. Unsworth focused on the significance of images in knowledge building, and investigated the complexity and recognizability of images in the process of building knowledge from a social semiotic point of view.
Prof. Wang Zhenhua hosted the closing ceremony and invited Prof. J. R. Martin to give closing remarks. Prof. Martin expressed heart-felt appreciation for and spoke highly of Prof. Wang Zhenhua’s contributions in founding and promoting the Martin Centre. Prof. Wang Zhenhua extended warm thanks to everyone for making the conference a great success.