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Call for Abstracts


Speech & communication may seem like the same, but in many contexts, such as the academic one, they have unique meanings. And then, there is language.

Speech in general refers to the action of producing speech or the act of speaking. We tend to take speaking for granted, but many people are faced with difficulties in this aspect of their lives, whether they be children suffering from one or multiple speech defects or disorders, or other types of conditions affecting speech, such as autism, or adults recovering from stroke or trying to learn the pronunciation of a second language.

Communication is a very broad category, including spoken language as well as many other non-verbal cues essential for interacting and communicating with others. Forms of expression such as sarcasm or facial gestures are also part of communication. Communication skills are vital to the success of our daily interactions, and particularly so in business and professional contexts, public speaking, teaching, mediating, and coaching. As such, they are a crucial component underlying career success in numerous fields.

Language, among many different meanings, is sometimes defined as a formal system of signs governed by grammatical rules of combination to communicate meaning. This definition stresses that human languages can be described as closed structural systems consisting of rules that relate particular signs to particular meanings. Modern linguistics is a science that concerns itself with all aspects of language, examining it from many theoretical viewpoints. For instance, Universal grammar (UG) is the theory of the genetic component of the language faculty, usually credited to Noam Chomsky. The basic postulate of UG is that a certain set of structural rules are innate to humans, independent of sensory experience.

The theme of our conference is unique – and rather ambitious – in trying to bring together work in all of these different areas. This is what we mean when we say “speech & communication for all”. A second meaning behind our choice of words has to do with the blurring of traditional boundaries – we aim to bring together work by both professors AND students, community colleges AND 4-year institutions, speech, language, AND communication, and the multitude of purposes towards which research in these fields can be used: linguistics, sociolinguistics, speech pathology, professional/public speaking, artistic expression, development of theoretical frameworks, and everything in between (such as all types of interdisciplinary work).

Whether from a linguistic, sociological, historical, anthropological, economic, political, literary or educational lens, scholars of CUNY share a common interest in analyzing and understanding the mechanisms underlying speech, language, and communication. Toward this end, we invite abstracts for a one-day conference for faculty and students from across all CUNY Community Colleges, as well as 4-year colleges. Submissions may include empirical, theoretical, or methodological contributions that in some way highlight the workings of speech, language and/or communication. Please submit an abstract of not more than 300 words (not including references) using our Abstract Submission page by April 11, 2021.

The abstract selection committee (composed of faculty from various CUNY institutions) will blind review the submissions.

Abstracts will be judged based on a rubric including the following criteria:

  1. Relevance to the theme of the conference, Speech & Communication For All.
  2. Organization and coherence: empirical research as well as theoretical and methodological papers should include a description of the problem/ tension/gap in the field, research questions, methodology, findings, and implications.
  3. Clarity and quality of exposition: abstracts should be well-written, adhering to established academic standards for conferences in your field.

Faculty: please encourage your students to apply.