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CLARe4 Helsinki: 27 February–1 March, 2019 CONFERENCE WEBSITE

Interaction, Methods, and Positions

The CLARe conference is dedicated to bringing researchers together who are interested in language and aging research and contributing to a more nuanced perspective on language and aging. We want to stimulate contributions that help to better identify the position of language and aging research in the broader context of linguistics, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. In addition to this, our aim is to establish cooperations with representatives for psychology, psycho- and neurolinguistics, as well as nursing and welfare. In this context, an interdisciplinary approach is mandatory.

The CLARe 4 conference in Helsinki follows the previous events at Louvain-la-Neuve in 2014 and 2015 and Berlin in 2017. Due to the active research environment in the field of aging and interaction in the Nordic countries, we have chosen interaction to be one thematic orientation for our conference in Helsinki. Our two other themes are methods and positions.

  1. Interaction: This thematic session focuses on interaction involving older adults. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in situational settings involving persons with dementia, focusing on how these persons and their conversational partners collaborate to construct meaning in interaction, despite the resulting communication challenges. However, there is still a lack of research on interaction involving older adults without pathological neurobiological language change. This session pays special attention to naturally occurring spoken interaction with regard to both healthy and pathological aging.
  2. Methods: We want to provide an arena for empirical approaches and innovative methods to gather language data from older adults. Because research on aging is still under-represented in the field of linguistics, there is a strong need for a discussion on various methodological points of departure. New methodological approaches, especially to corpus data, audio and video data, and documenting spontaneous speech will be presented and need to be considered with regard to the ethical issues related to investigating the language of an older population.
  3. Positions: The field of language and aging research is intrinsically interdisciplinary. Furthermore, the research has a potential both for providing new theoretical knowledge and for producing empirical results that are applicable in nursing and welfare. Therefore, this session is dedicated to position papers that outline what can be learned from language and aging research in other disciplines such as, e.g. language change, and vice versa: paradigms and experiences that could shed new light on language related issues of aging. The papers provide a solid foundation to discuss both emerging theoretical topics and questions linking language issues with professional practice

Our keynote speakers are Christina Samuelsson (Linköping University), Sylvie Ratté (ETS Montréal), and Fred Gregersen (University of Copenhagen).

Find us on the Sociolinguistic Events Calendar:

Contact:  Camilla C. LINDHOLM, University of Helsinki & Annette GERST ENBERG , University of Potsdam.

CLARe3, FU Berlin, March 6–8, 2017 – International Conference

Encounters in Language and Aging Research: Pragmatic Spaces, Longitudinal studies, Multilingualism

Click here for more information and follow us on Twitter: #clare3 


Peter Backhaus (WASEDA University, Tokyo): Communication in institutional eldercare: A Japanese perspective R. Harald Baayen (Universität Tübingen / University of Alberta, Edmonton), Susanne Gahl (University of California, Berkeley): Twenty‐eight years of vowels: An investigation of changes in vowel formants and vowel duration in the Up corpus Heidi E. Hamilton Georgetown University): Language, dementia and meaningmaking in art galleries and homes: Objects of joint attention as resources for transforming knowledge, building topics and lifting spirits Yoshiko Matsumoto (Stanford University): Being ordinary: A powerful narrative strategy when feeling vulnerable Heather H. Wright (East Carolina University): Discourse Changes with Age: Considering microlinguistic and macrolinguistic processes.

  Freie Universität Berlin [Read more ...]


Catherine Bolly (2014-2017), Annette Gerstenberg (2014-), Camilla Lindholm (2017-2023), David Bowie (2019-)


"It is ultimately inadequate to characterize the linguistic dimension of normal social ageing as the avoidance of decremental pathologies" (Coupland / Coupland 1990, 452)

"Qualsiasi generalizzazione in merito alle capacità linguistiche degli Anziani è sconveniente e fuorviante" (Taddei Gheiler 2005, 20)

"Alte Menschen sind nicht Mitglieder einer homogenen Kategorie. Genau das Gegenteil ist der Fall. Altern ist gekennzeichnet durch Plastizität (Formbarkeit), Variabilität zwischen Funktionen und Personen und ein hohes Maß an biografischer Individualität. Erst die Pathologie wie die Altersdemenz setzt dieser Vielfalt deutlichere Grenzen, zumindest was die Entwicklungsrichtung betrifft" (Baltes 2007, 16)


Baltes, Paul B. (2007): «Alter(n) als Balanceakt». Gruss, Peter (ed.): Die Zukunft des Alterns. Die Antwort der Wissenschaft. Ein Report der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. München: C.H. Beck, 15–34.

Coupland, Nicholas / Coupland, Justine (1990): «Language and Later Life». Giles, Howard / Robinson, Peter (eds.): Handbook of language and social psychology. Chichester, et al.: Wiley, 451–467.

Taddei Gheiler, Franca (2005): La lingua degli anziani. Locarno: Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana.