How can we get someone to behave in a way that they initially did not intend? And how can we change what our interlocutor thinks about a certain issue? We use language to ‘convince’, ‘persuade’, ‘cajole’, or ‘coax’ our counterpart into a certain behavior or state of mind. These are activities we engage in constantly, usually even without conscious thought. It is words that have the power to mold and influence opinions, attitudes, and behavior. This persuasive power of language is at the center of this symposium.
Linguists have traditionally examined the workings of persuasive language in institutionalized discourses. As genres inherently characterized by persuasion, it is not surprising then that advertising and politics have enjoyed the limelight of scholarly attention here; investigations of the features of persuasive language in TV, radio, and print advertisements as well as political speeches, interviews, and press conferences abound. Persuasion has also been studied extensively in the fields of rhetoric and critical discourse analysis (CDA). For this symposium, we particularly welcome contributions which expand the research of persuasive language to other genres and domains (like advice, dating, or conspiracy discourse) and engage with language and persuasion from other perspectives which have opened up due to technological advances (computer-mediated communication), social changes (globalized and networked publics, the attention economy), and methodological progress (big data and digital humanities, sophisticated statistical and phonetic tools for data analysis). We are also particularly interested in including contributions from the field of forensic linguistics.
This is the second installment of the Influence, Manipulation, and Seduction symposium which had its first successful run in 2020. The event brings linguists together with scholars from other fields concerned with persuasion, such as psychology, sociology, and media, information, cultural, and internet studies to examine persuasive language from new perspectives.
Conference Format and Types of Papers
Full talks will be made available as pre-recorded videos (10-15 minutes) with the conference days reserved for panel discussion sessions.
In addition to the pre-recorded full talks, the event will also include a synchronous Lightning Talk session. Lightning Talks are short, 3-minute, presentations given in rapid succession and thus force the presenters to focus on their key points and to convey their ideas succinctly and clearly. The best lightning talk will be awarded with a certificate and a small prize.