David Crystal: Pragmatics: The final frontier

This is the first in a series of posts announcing the speakers for this year's BELTA Day, which will be held on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at Odisee University College in Brussels. Every week, we will present information about the different speakers, so you can plan your time at BELTA Day 2017.

Plenary 1: Pragmatics: The final frontier

It has taken language scholars a long time to realise the centrality of pragmatics - the study of the choices we make when we use language, and of the factors governing those choices. This talk illustrates the way pragmatic factors enter into everything we say and write, and are a crucial factor in explaining why people use language in the way they do.

Q&A: Ask the expert

The language Q&A is an extended session in which participants can pose questions on any aspect of language, not just the topic of the preceding lecture(s).

Please note: Space is limited in this room; if you wish to sit in on this session, note that it is a ‘first-come, first-served’ situation. Once all the seats are taken, no one will be allowed to enter.

Plenary 2: Advanced Conversation English – Fact and Fiction

This talk is for an ELT audience, and looks at some of the differences between the language of textbooks and the realities of informal conversation, taking examples from pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and discourse.

Bio David Crystal

David works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead. His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary’s College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specialised in English language studies, did some research there at the Survey of English Usage under Randolph Quirk (1962-3), then joined academic life as a lecturer in linguistics, first at Bangor, then at Reading. He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as intonation and stylistics, and in the application of linguistics to religious, educational and clinical contexts, notably in the development of a range of linguistic profiling techniques for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years, and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

David Crystal’s authored works are mainly in the field of language, including several Penguin books, but he is perhaps best known for his two encyclopedias for Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Recent books include The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation (2016), The Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary (2015, with Ben Crystal), The Disappearing Dictionary: a treasury of lost English dialect words (2015), and Making a Point: the Pernickety Story of English Punctuation (2015) - Persnickety in the US. Other co-authored books include Words on Words (2000, a dictionary of language quotations compiled with his wife and business-partner, Hilary - Wheatley Medal, 2001), Wordsmiths and Warriors: the English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain (2013, with Hilary), and Shakespeare’s Words (2002) and The Shakespeare Miscellany (2005), the last two in collaboration with Ben. Other Shakespeare work includes a regular article for the magazine of Shakespeare’s Globe, Around the Globe. Think On My Words, an introduction to Shakespeare’s language, appeared in 2008. All Shakespeare books can be viewed via The Shakespeare Portal. A new version of the glossary went live in 2008: see Shakespeare’s Words.