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Conference Information

Full Title: Contested Languages in the Old World

Short Title: CLOW
Location: Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom
Start Date: 09-Sep-2013 - 10-Sep-2013
Contact: Marco Tamburelli
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Only a fraction of European languages listed in the 2010 ‘UNESCO Atlas of World’s Languages in Danger’ enjoy some recognition within the state(s) in which they are spoken. There thus remain many European bilinguals who have linguistic rights only in one of their two mother tongues, often not their preferred one.

This international conference will bring together linguists, political scientists, legal experts, writers, activists and other scholars working on the current status and future prospects of such ‘contested’ languages, as well as on issues of corpus and status planning and how these impact on both the speaker communities and the academic world.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:

Prof. Christopher Moseley (UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger)
Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith (Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh)

The meeting will focus on languages which, although generally recognized as such by the international scientific community (e.g., they are duly reported in Ethnologue, have an unambiguous ISO 639 code, and their status as Abstand languages is often not questioned by linguists, especially out of their home country), have not attained any reasonable degree of official recognition. Sometimes, also academic interest and recognition at home are at stake.

Reference is made here to many of the regional languages of Italy (e.g. Lombard, Piedmontese, Sicilian, Venetian, and others), Germany (e.g. Bavarian, Low Saxon, Swabian), and Poland (e.g. Kashubian, Silesian), some of the regional languages of Spain (e.g. Aragonese, Asturian), and most regional languages of France, as well as to all other cases of ‘contested languages’ within European continua. All these varieties have a relatively strong degree of Abstand separating them from the official languages of the State in which they are spoken, they also have a substantial number of speakers of different age groups (though younger speakers tend to be less conversant and prefer the use of the state language), a distinct literary written tradition, and display some level of standardization and corpus planning. Still, these languages are often referred to as ‘dialects’, ‘patois’ etc. in everyday (and sometimes in academic) discourse. The visibility of these languages in the public sphere is negligible and official recognition is either totally lacking or restricted to the local level; public use of these languages is likewise totally absent or nearly so. Speakers’ awareness varies, but is generally low and restricted to active minorities.
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 24.1570

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