The key objective of this symposium is to give a new impetus to research conducted on French for specific purposes.
One of the aims of the symposium is to show how many facets research on French for specific purposes can have. On the one hand, research on languages for specific purposes (LSP) is a field within linguistics which touches every linguistic level, such as morphology, text linguistics, or pragmatics. This may, in principle, be true for the study of any language. It is, however, especially interesting with respect to French due to the highly developed language awareness that is deeply routed in French culture. On the other hand, the French language can, both in the written and the spoken mode, be represented in various forms, which might, in extreme cases, convey the impression that not only one, but several (sub-)languages come into play. In this context, issues concerning the crossroads of LSP are of importance - not only in terms of content, but also with relevance to the respective text types empoyed. Hence, research pursued on LSP and particularly on French for specific purposes is of a multifaceted nature.
Research on LSP is far more than just the study of language. It also involves the respective content, i.e. the subject it is referred to, be it economics, law, technology or social sciences, just to mention some examples. In this situation - and in ideal cases -, linguists and scientists might meet halfway, a mutual exchange between them representing a desideratum. Consequently, languages for specific purposes always point beyond themselves. Thus, research on LSP as well as on French for specific purposes is highly fascinating. Communicating this facination potential is another target of this symposium.
Languages for specific purposes are an integral part of our everyday lives and are therefore characterized by a high relevancy in numerous fields of human activity. Furthermore, research on LSP is rather close to the centre of people’s (professional) interests, which explains why it is also characterized by a high degree of functionality.
These short reflections show that the title of the present symposium French for Specific Purposes – Multi-Faceted, Fascinating, Functional has not merely been chosen for the sake of appearing eye-catching and because this title might arouse people’s interest, but because it does represent the symposium’s agenda: languages for specific purposes are indeed a highly interesting research field and, research on LSP, which, in the opinion of many, seems to have passed its peak, is much more topical and much more relevant than people might assume nowadays. Last but not least, this aspect is to be pointed out in the talks and the ensuing discussions, which are going to take place in the context of the symposium.