Roundtable "Présent(s) de la science-fiction : évolution et diversification du genre à l'époque contemporaine" (Present[s] of Science Fiction: Evolution and Diversification of the Genre in the Contemporary Era)

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May 20, 2022

On May 20, 2022 at 9:45 a.m. (EST), Emmanuelle Lescouet will give a talk titled "Concevoir le futur, concevoir la langue" (Conceiving the Future, Conceiving Language) at the roundtable organised by the University Aix-Marseille.

Science fiction envisions possible futures, so it is only natural that it also questions the linguistic evolutions of these possible worlds. If we can view societal and linguistic developments as extensions and inter-dynamic systems, it becomes clear that linguistics can hold a fundamental place in SF writing (Landragin 2018, 2020).

Linguistic issues already agitate our news and ways of relating to one another. The last few years have seen the expansion of inclusive writing and the visibility of questions about gender in the language, particularly in French: how can we not be in a sexist relationship if even the nominations imply that the feminine does not exist

What if this relationship were reversed? If society were sexist... the other way around? This is the premise of Elisabeth Vonarburg's novel Chroniques du pays des mères, through which I would like to explore how linguistics can be a universe-building tool, a full-fledged "show don't tell" of literature. The expression of both the characters and the narrators, and what it induces, will shed light on a way of telling and representing a global society, a mirror of our own, unable to think outside its system of enunciation.


The reader then perceives the universe no longer solely through their own linguistic system, but by measuring the gap between this used language (yet, here, it is indeed normative French, without even Quebecisms) adapted to the reality of this other society. Since language is at the heart of the construction of both the myths and the historical representation of this society as seen by itself, it is necessary to understand its possible evolutions and its uses in order to grasp its narrative functions as a tool for the construction and consolidation of a second world.

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