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Conference Information

Full Title: Code-switching in Literature

Location: London, United Kingdom
Start Date: 05-Jul-2013 - 05-Jul-2013
Contact: Penelope Gardner-Chloros
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Bilingual language mixing, or code-switching, has recently entered the public imagination through popular films such as ‘Spanglish’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. This is gratifying for linguists, for whom this is a lively field of study (Gardner-Chloros 2009; Bullock & Toribio 2009). However, what is less widely studied in both academic and public arenas is the flourishing of code-switching in literature. The spread of English is one factor currently giving rise to this worldwide phenomenon, from Latino literature (Montes-Alcalá 2012) to the Urban London speech of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, from Helen de Witt’s The Last Sumarai to Mulk Raj Anan’s Coolie. Elsewhere, from French-speaking Canada to the Caribbean, poets and writers are exploiting the creative possibilities of combining languages within the same works.

This conference is a first step towards formalizing and theorizing a phenomenon which concerns both the study of linguistics and literature equally, and is represented in both burgeoning musical genres and the electronic media. There is now considerable interest in written code-switching generally, across a range of genres and text types (Sebba, Mahootian & Jonsson 2012). ‘Translingual’ writers, i.e. those who write in a language other than their mother-tongue (Kellman 2000; 2003) are also a focus of scholarly attention, as is bilingual creativity (Jarvis & Pavlenko 2007; Kharkhurin 2012). But although multilingual literature has been of significance for centuries (Forster 1970/2009; Schendl & Wright 2011), the specific study of code-switching in literature has been contingent on its study within linguistics and is only now taking off. Papers are expected to combine an interest in theoretical issues to do with the role of code-switching in literature with the description of specific texts or writers. Anticipated output will take the form of an edited collection, which will be the subject of a preliminary discussion at the conference.

To attend this conference, please visit the webpage ( and click on ‘Payment and Registration’.

The conference schedule is available below; a full programme, with abstracts, is available at the conference webpage.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Ling & Literature; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 24.2027

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