Given the success of the Journal Club last year, we are continuing the meetings of the Club this semester. The first meeting of this year will happen this Friday at the regular time (full information below). At this week's meeting, we will discuss Sally McConnel-Ginet's 2008 Language paper, based on her presidential address delivered at the 2007 LSA Annual Meeting. In this paper, McConnel-Ginet argues that words do both "cognitive and social work", and she explores how the cognitive representation of the meaning of words is shaped through their use in concrete social situations. This paper promises to be a perfect fit for the "social meets cognitive" theme of the Journal Club.

Full bibliographic information for the paper, including an abstract, is given below. You can access the paper through Mirlyn. If you do not have access to Mirlyn, you can contact Robin Queen for a copy of a the paper.

What: Journal Club Meeting

When: Friday, February 15, 4 pm

Where: Lorch 473

McConnel-Ginet, Sally. (2008) Words in the world: how and why meanings can matter. Language, 84(3):497-527.

Why do people care about the meaning(s)/significance associated with a word? Does it make sense to advocate or to criticize a certain form-meaning association? This article argues that words do real cognitive and social work as they are deployed in social practice and that it is primarily through words and their histories of use that culture links to language. It is not semantic representations as such that matter but the (mostly extralinguistic) reference and conceptual baggage words acquire in their discursive world travels. Lexical significance shifts and is contested as part of shifting and contested customs, institutions, and ideologies.