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Conference Information

Full Title: Conflicting Orthographies

Location: Split, Croatia
Start Date: 18-Sep-2013 - 21-Sep-2013
Contact: Laura Villa
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Description:

Studies focused on language ideological debates over orthographic issues as powerful sources to explain the intricate relations between spelling and society


Laura Villa, University of Dayton -
Rik Vosters, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Erasmus University College Brussels -

The study of the socio-political aspects of spelling has gained scholarly attention in the last decades (e.g. Jaffe 2000, Sebba 2007, Jaffe, Androutsopoulos, Sebba & Johnson 2012, Baddeley & Voeste 2012). The introduction of writing systems in oral communities in decolonization contexts, the intense standardization of national and minority languages in the twentieth century, the bitter public debates triggered by orthographic reforms, and the exploitation of non-standard spelling norms as sources of group identity are among the processes that have clearly underlined the non-linguistic significance of orthography.

This socio-political dimension of language - and spelling - becomes particularly visible in the course of public debates over linguistic matters as the participants in those debates propose discursive representations of the self and the other - and the self and the other’s linguistic practices. When such controversies arise, external factors move to the forefront, revealing, in fact, that linguistic controversies ‘are part of more general sociopolitical processes’ (Blommaert 1999: 3). Accordingly, approaching linguistic conflicts as language ideological debates allows us to emphasize concepts such as human agency, power, and authority and, therefore, better explain the complex ‘relationship between language and power/social structures’ (Blommaert 1999: 1). As spelling is - and was - often at the forefront of linguistics controversies in the public sphere, it is an excellent object of study to illustrate the social, cultural and historical issues that are often at stake in discussions about language.

This panel aims at bringing together scholars working on a range of languages and periods, whose research stresses the potential of orthographic competence and orthographic conflicts to better understand the intricate relations between spelling and society - i.e. scholars interested in the reproduction of broader socio-political processes in specific spelling ideological debates. We propose to offer a broad comparative overview of orthographical conflicts in different standard and non-standard language varieties in Europe from the Middle Ages to the present.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Writing Systems
LL Issue: 23.4320

This is a session of the following meeting:
46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea

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