CFT 2022: Social Meaning and Pragmatics in Tamil Discourse

May 12-13, 2022

The study of Tamil discourse has long been a rich source for sociolinguistic study, with linguistic and anthropological studies of caste dialects, address practices and honorification, oratory, literature, standardization, codemixing and language contact, among other topics. Such research has demonstrated the wider theoretical importance of pragmatics to the understanding of language beyond a narrow formalist focus and the importance that the Tamil language contributes to our understanding of the linguistic and cultural diversity of human speech. In this workshop we explore new directions in the sociolinguistic and anthropological study of Tamil discourse pragmatics amidst a half-century of ongoing, rapid linguistic change in a globalizing Tamilagam.

Thursday, May 12, 2022, Keynote Lecture
– Suresh Canagarajah (Pennsylvania State University) “Deconstructing Linguistics from South Asia: Practices in Search of a Theory” (Foster 103, 5pm)

Friday, May 13, 2022 Workshop

– E. Annamalai (University of Chicago), “What Do You Think of What You Say: Speaker Perceptions of Propositions in Tamil.”

– Sanford Seever (Independent scholar), “Discourse and Narrative in the Structure of Tamil Grammar.”

– Christina Davis (Western Illinois University), “Teaching the Other Official Language: Spoken Tamil Standardization in Postwar Sri Lanka.”

– N. Govindarajan (University of Chicago), “Meaning as Rescuer: Colonizing the Colonizer, the Tamil Way.”

– Swarnavel Eswaran (Michigan State University) & Constantine V. Nakassis (University of Chicago), “Doubled Meaning.”