EVENT (Symposium): Language, Music and Interaction


Language, Music and Interaction

One-day Symposium of the Philological Society, 9th November 2012. Interaction, Media and Communication group, Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London and SOAS


Professor Pat Healey (IMC group, QMUL)
Professor Ruth Kempson (KCL emeritus, QMUL Visiting Research Professor)
Dr Martin Orwin (Languages and Cultures of Africa, SOAS)
This is a Philological Society event.

With the conventional assumption that language ability has to be explained by characterising languages wholly separately from how they are used, for a long time now there has been a divide between explanations of language as a system (language competence) and explanations of language use (performance). Nonetheless, in socio-linguistics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics, it has always been assumed that explanations of social aspects of language and language change have to make reference to how language is used in social interactions. Things are however now changing.

Since the turn of the century, psychologists, and those working on core properties of language – semanticists, syntacticians, phoneticians – have increasingly been exploring different versions of the view that the language has to be seen as grounded in terms of participant interaction. Strikingly, over the same period, there has been parallel work emerging in music theory arguing that music is grounded in participant interaction; and there are clear points of contact between these two research directions. To draw these research trends together, this event gathers representatives of these groups to explore issues relating to human interaction raised by their research, with the goal of exploring the consequences of seeing both language and music as mechanisms for interaction.


The symposium will be held at the following location: ArtsOne building, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London.

This event is free. You are asked to register with the option to join the Philological Society for a minimal fee (£10 or £10 for 5 years for students) to gain priority for attendance.

The full symposium programme and additional information can be found here:


Abstracts can be found here:



By admin

Sign up for periodic announcements via our Newsletter!