Attunements and Assemblages: The complexities of linguistic interactions
The Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication invites you to our first lunchtime talk of the academic year with speaker Alastair Pennycook.
Drawing on various lines of posthumanist thought, this paper looks at the idea of attunement as a way of thinking about how people tune in to each other (rather than alignment – aligning with each other – or understanding – implying mutual comprehension); and assemblage as a way of considering all that comes together (people, place, objects and semiotic resources) in the complexity of a moment of interaction. Recent trends in areas of sociolinguistics have tended towards an expansion of the semiotic inventory: Where once linguistic landscapes focused on the language of signs in public spaces, they now incorporate buildings, bodies, mobilities, smellscapes and skinscapes; and where once translanguaging dealt only with mixed language use in multilingual settings, it has now started to include a broader set of meaning-making practices. This semiotic expansion not only places greater demands on the researcher but also questions ideas such as mutual understanding or context, urging us to rethink what communication is amid this whirl of semiotic possibilities.
Alastair Pennycook is Professor of Language in Education at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the author of many titles, including Language as a Local Practice (2010), Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows (2007), and Metrolingualism (2015, with Emi Otsuji).