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Interfacing between Linguists and Literary Scholars: A Conference on Mixed-method Approaches and a First Survey of Italian Collaborative Practices

Authors:

Sara Gesuato ,

University of Padua, IT
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Rocco Coronato

University of Padua, IT
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Abstract

Let’s face it—at the tertiary level of education, language and literature studies often co-exist as two parallel, independent strands of research. Practitioners in each field work side by side, rather than together. Linguists examine the lexis, grammar and structures of typically non-literary texts, with a view to accounting for their encoding patterns. Literary critics explore the content, socio-historical background and formal conventions of literary texts so as to come to plausible interpretations of their themes and worldviews. The authors of this Introduction are no exception.

We spent half a dozen years sharing the same office, busy—maybe too busy—working in the same degree courses and teaching the same groups of students, before starting to actually talk to each other, and thus discovering that we were similarly interested, both personally and professionally, in certain genres (i.e. prose fiction) and that our research approaches similarly involved paying close attention to the content and form of texts. Having finally really introduced ourselves, we found it natural to continue getting to know each other, exploring the recent trends in our disciplinary fields.

We were pleased to observe and report to each other a convergence of interests. Indeed, on the one hand, linguists are now more often considering works of fiction as the object of their analysis, and literary scholars are paying more and more attention to their lexical make-up. On the other, scholars in both fields are noticing the benefits that may derive from adopting mixed-method approaches to the study of texts, with qualitative and quantitative investigations providing complementary insights into their structure, content and ideologies.

The outcome of our discussions was twofold: a decision to conduct an informal survey among our colleagues about their thoughts on the possible intermingling of interests in language and literature studies, and a parallel decision to hold a conference on the qualitative-quantitative interface in the study of literature.

How to Cite: Gesuato, S. and Coronato, R., 2020. Interfacing between Linguists and Literary Scholars: A Conference on Mixed-method Approaches and a First Survey of Italian Collaborative Practices. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(2), pp.1–20.
Published on 04 Sep 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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