“Words about…” #1 – Words about Memory

Words about Memory

The 1st issue of the “Words about...” series hosted by Lexis Journal in English Lexicology will focus on “Words about Memory”.

Memory, defined by the OED as “[t]he faculty by which things are remembered; the capacity for retaining, perpetuating, or reviving the thought of things past”, is a key topic in the development and functioning of contemporary societies, whether in the form of the duty of remembrance, computer memory or memory disorders affecting an ageing population. Memory is addressed by many disciplines, each with its own objectives and characteristics, so that it may seem pointless to speak of memory as a single entity: clearly, memory has multiple facets, which this issue of Lexis sets out to explore. The journal specializes in lexical questions and will contribute to the study of memory by clarifying the uses of this polysemous and polyphonic word.

The issue will be interdisciplinary and will welcome articles in linguistics but more broadly in all the human and social sciences, as well as bioscience or physics, provided that lexical and/or terminological issues are at the core of the papers.

In linguistics, contributions may deal with the etymology and the diachronic evolution of terms referring to memory, recollection and amnesia. The metaphors relating to memory – whether lexicalized (“refreshing someone’s memory”, “losing one’s memory”, “jogging someone’s memory”, etc.) or not – could also be investigated. Analyses may focus on English or French, but also on other languages, particularly from a contrastive perspective with English.

Contributions may cover a range of fields, including lexical semantics. The use of corpora can shed light on analyses and open up other perspectives, including the possibility of dealing with an event, a historical period or a vital episode (such as childbirth, life story, etc.).

Moreover, the standardization of terminology and the classification of terms in specialized languages are important steps for any scientific progress. Memory sciences should be no exception. This raises the question of the possibility of forging a lingua franca for memory providing researchers with a common language which would, for instance, prescribe the preferred terms used to lexicalize memory concepts. Its purpose would be to facilitate communication within one scientific discipline, but also between various disciplines concerned with the same object of study. This issue of Lexis will therefore welcome articles on the construction of controlled vocabularies – such as thesauri and ontologies – about memory and associated notions, or on the formalization of concept lexicalization. Other topics, such as the management of synonymy and polysemy within these repositories, as well as equivalences between languages in the case of multilingual terminology resources or between repositories (alignments), may also be addressed. How can semantic web and automatic language processing tools (e.g. terminology extraction and relation extraction) help to detect memory terms in specialized corpora, formalize their meanings and relations, and standardize their lexicalization? What are these repositories used for?

Contributions based on literary corpora may focus, for example, on the lexicon of memory used by a particular author; what are the terms occurring in their work, and in what types of contexts do they appear? In the case of narratives, do the words of memory mark narratological inflections? Papers may also study the lexemes strongly associated with memory episodes (for Proust, for example, the madeleine or the cobblestones of the Hôtel de Guermantes, and for Woolf, St Ives, the place of her childhood vacation days. As a journal in English lexicology, Lexis will welcome studies on English-language literature, but analyses dealing with other languages – especially from a contrastive or translational perspective – will also be considered.

In the fields of philosophy and psychology, the terms relating to memory, such as “working memory”, “episodic memories” or “déjà vu” may provide interesting directions to analyze. Contributions may look into their definition and question their limits as well as their impact on the research led by the disciplines that use them. French-language articles may also address terms borrowed from English (“affordance”, etc.) and the differences between their common and technical usage. The use of words by patients suffering from memory disorders could also be studied: are certain types of words more affected than others by pathologies leading to memory loss?

In the field of psychoanalysis, it may be relevant to study terms and expressions referring to memory, such as “repetition compulsion”, “repression” and “symptom”.

Finally, an additional question might be raised: to what extent do the creation of individual and collective memory and the reactivation of remembrance entail the creation of a lexicon? One may think, for instance, of the commemorations of historical events and the words they involve, or of the lexicalization of expressions – such as “9/11”, for example, to refer to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

How to submit

Please clearly indicate the title of the paper and include an abstract between 3,000 and 6,000 characters (including spaces) as well as a list of relevant key-words and references. All abstract and paper submissions will be anonymously peer-reviewed (double-blind peer reviewing) by an international scientific committee composed of specialists in their fields. Papers will be written preferably in English or occasionally in French.

Manuscripts may be rejected, accepted subject to revision, or accepted as such. The contributions will not exceed 55,000 signs.

Submissions (abstracts and articles) will be uploaded onto the journal’s submission platform. If you encounter any problem, please send a message to Lexis.

  • February 2024: Call for papers

  • May 31, 2024: Deadline for submitting abstracts to Lexis via the journal’s submission platform

  • July-August 2024: Evaluation Committee’s decisions notified to authors

  • December 1, 2024: Deadline for submitting papers via the journal’s submission platform (Guidelines for submitting articles: https://journals.openedition.org/lexis/1000)

  • December 2024 and January 2025: Proofreading of papers by the Evaluation committee

  • February and March 2025: Authors’ corrections

  • April 1, 2025: Deadline for sending in final versions of papers