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A Career to Celebrate

Istvan Kecskes, the primary originator of intercultural pragmatics, a new field of linguistics. 

ALBANY, NY (Sept. 30, 2017) – School of Education Distinguished Professor Istvan Kecskes has been honored by a Festschrift, a scholarly book written in celebration of an illustrious academic career.

The edited volume, Doing Pragmatics Interculturally: Cognitive, Philosophical, and Sociopragmatic Perspectives, collects contributions from 31 international intellects whose work has been informed, directly or indirectly, by Kecskes’ scholarship.

The book reflects some of the breadth and depth of Kecskes’ scholarly influence, his international prominence, and the important advances he has championed in linguistics. His impact further extends through his contributions to programs in language development, language in education, and the Teaching of English to Speakers of other Languages at UAlbany’s School of Education.

“I’m so pleased and proud of this tribute to Distinguished Professor Kecskes,” said Robert Bangert-Drowns, dean of the School of Education. “It is another indication of the excellence of our UAlbany and School of Education faculty.”

Kecskes is the primary originator, intellectually and practically, of a new field of linguistics — intercultural pragmatics — which investigates how speakers from different first languages and cultures communicate in a common language. His seminal 2014 book Intercultural Pragmatics (Oxford University Press) comprehensively defines the discipline.

He is founding editor of the journal Intercultural Pragmatics that publishes peer-reviewed theoretical and applied pragmatics research, he serves as editor-in-chief of the Mouton Book Series in Pragmatics, and he is president of the American Pragmatics Association, which will hold its 2018 conference at UAlbany. In 2010, Kecskes initiated the first International Conference on Chinese as a Second Language, and has launched the journal Chinese as a Second Language Research and a professional association of the same name.

In addition to his foundational influence in intercultural pragmatics, Kecskes has contributed powerfully to other pragmatics scholarship — socio-pragmatics, cognitive pragmatics, and discourse pragmatics — all providing different views of how speakers convey meaning in specific contexts.

In more than 40 articles and proceedings, 10 books, six edited collections, 21 book chapters, and prestigious editorial, speaking and organizational roles, Kecskes has had a profound impact on research in areas related to second language learning, the relationship of language and culture, and sociocognitive approaches to linguistics in general and pragmatics specifically.

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