LINGUIST List 13.497

Sat Feb 23 2002

Calls: Endangered Langs, English Language Ling

Editor for this issue: Renee Galvis <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Nicholas Ostler, CFP: FEL VI: Endangered Languages and their Literatures: Antigua, Guatemala. 8-10 August 2002
  2. Tracey McHenry, Call: RMMLA session on English linguistics DEADLINE 3/1

Message 1: CFP: FEL VI: Endangered Languages and their Literatures: Antigua, Guatemala. 8-10 August 2002

Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 21:17:03 +0000
From: Nicholas Ostler <>
Subject: CFP: FEL VI: Endangered Languages and their Literatures: Antigua, Guatemala. 8-10 August 2002

Call for Abstracts:

FEL VI: "Endangered Languages and their Literatures:
Building a Past for the Future"

Antigua, Guatemala. 8-10 August 2002

One of the most powerful functions of a language is that of repository
for the culture and worldview of its speakers. Its grammar and
lexicon store the shared experiences of past generations, and a
language is the channel by which these images, emotions, knowledge and
beliefs are transmitted to the next. A language does not just
transmit messages; it decorates them aesthetically, and so facilitates
their reception and retention.

Thus literature, both in spoken and written forms, is a key crossover
point between the life of a language and the lives of its speakers.
Literature gives a language prestige; and knowledge of its literature
enriches a language's utility for its speakers. Both act to build the
loyalty of speakers to their own language. All these effects then
reinforce one another in a virtuous cycle. What exactly is the
relationship between a minority language facing increased pressure and
its literatures? Does the oral and/or written tradition hold a key to
the language's future survival? The sixth international conference of
the Foundation for Endangered Languages aims to pinpoint the processes
and seek new tactics for looking at literary traditions as a means of
promoting the vitality of small languages.

We hope to find answers to many questions, not all of them obvious. 
For example:
* The (re)writing of our history: How endangered language communities
seek to establish a stronger sense of their past on which to build
their future?
* How does the power of language preserve and propagate aspects of
cultural tradition and stimulate new departures in keeping with the
* Emerging literatures and literacies: What are the pedagogical and
linguistic issues involved in EL literary production?
* How does the use of creative-writing workshops, poetry-festivals and
literary contests impact language revitalization?
* How do oral literatures and their transmission across generations
help revitalize endangered languages or to reverse language-shift?
* Translation issues (from and into EL): Who is the target audience
and what is the target effect?
* What are the symbolic as well as communicative functions of
endangered languages in literature?
* How do efforts from within the community to maintain language
address its literary tradition?

To seek answers to these and other questions, the Foundation for
Endangered Languages hereby calls for papers to be presented at its
fifth conference, 'Endangered Languages and their Literatures',
planned for Antigua, Guatemala, for 8-10 August 2002.

It is no coincidence that we choose this venue for the conference, at
the gateway to the densest Mayan population in the world. Though most
are familiar with the marvels of Mayan achievements in pre-Columbian
times, focusing on the past leads many to assume that when the great
cities of the Classic Period were abandoned the Mayas did not simply
return to the surrounding countryside, but disappeared altogether.
Yet it is precisely in this countryside, in thousands of small rural
communities that the Mayas and their distinct identity have survived
to number over seven million today. Here they carry out life ways as
inscribed on ancient stones: the counting of days on their unique
calendar, the daily preparation of sacred corn on the grinding stone,
weaving garments of intricate designs at the back strap loom, and the
use of their languages.

The Mayas have withstood centuries of hardship, oppression and
persecution with their cultures and languages largely intact, a feat no
less impressive than the construction of giant pyramids. However, the
forces of globalization, as manifested in national schools, mass media,
accelerated migration, and a cash economy, continue to encroach upon
and penetrate the Mayan world, endangering their languages as never
before. The signing of Peace Accords in 1996 signaled the close of 35
years of civil war known as la violencia whose impact upon the Mayas
was particularly cruel and devastating.

However, in recent years, a growing movement has sprouted from the
ashes of la violencia, seeking to recover the Mayas' rightful place in
national life. This movement has largely shunned frontal assaults on
the political system in favor of education and literacy in Mayan
languages, and the publication of dictionaries, teaching materials,
and diverse forms of Mayan literature. Mayan organizations are now
active in diverse fields, such as health, agriculture, community
development, and Mayan religion. All promote the use of Mayan
languages both as a symbol of collective identity and as communicative

Antigua, Spanish colonial capital of Central America, is an
architectural gem nestled in the verdant Guatemalan highlands. Though
less than an hour from the bustling capital of Guatemala City, the
cobblestone streets and tile roofs of Antigua belong to another,
slower age. Antigua is home to several Mayan language revitalization
organizations, and also serves as a gateway to the Mayan towns and
villages, as well as the scenic splendors of the Guatemalan

We invite contributions not only from the academic disciplines of
linguistics and literature/comparative literature, but also from
active practitioners in the field with first-hand experience from
which we can learn of the worlds threatened languages and their
struggle for survival and equal status with those of international
communication in the ether and on the printed page. We have much to
learn from each other, and we invite you to share your knowledge and
experience with us in the beautiful setting of a historic town that
has long been a point of contact between diverse cultures and
languages. The conference will also provide ample opportunity to
explore the surrounding area as well.

The Foundation for Endangered Languages is a registered charity in
England and Wales. FEL conferences, besides being opportunities to
discuss the issues from a global viewpoint, are working meetings of
the Foundation, defining our overall policy for future years.
Participants at the conference therefore, unless offering media
coverage, need to be members of the Foundation. There are full
facilities to join on arrival, but all proposers are strongly urged to
join as soon as possible, and so take full part in the Foundation´┐Żs
activities in the lead-up to the conference.

Presentations will last twenty minutes each, with a further ten
minutes for discussion. Authors will be expected to submit a written
paper for publication in the Proceedings well in advance of the
conference. All presentations should be accessible largely in English
or Spanish, but use of the languages of interest, for quotation or
exemplification, may well be appropriate.

McKenna Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez, Asociacion Cultural Beybal, Guatemala
Nicholas Ostler, FEL, Bath, England
Chris Moseley, BBC Monitoring Service, England
Mahendra Verma, University of York, England
Karen Johnson-Weiner, SUNY-Potsdam, USA
Blair Rudes, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA

Abstract Submission 
Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. They can be submitted in either
of two ways: (preferably) by electronic submission, but also on
paper. They should be in English.

A) Electronic submission:
Electronic submission (by 15 Marchl 2002) should be as attachment in
Word format in email message to

B) Paper abstracts:
Three copies should be sent, (again, for delivery by 15 March 2002),
to: R. McKenna Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University, International
Studies Program, Box 843080, Richmond, VA 23284-3080 USA (fax
This should have a clear short title, but should not bear anything to
identify the author(s).

On a separate sheet, please include the following information: 
NAME : Names of the author(s) 
TITLE: Title of the paper 
EMAIL: Email address of the first author, if any 
ADDR: Postal address of the first author 
TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any 
FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any 

The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence. If
possible, please also send an e-mail to R. McKenna Brown at informing him of the hard copy submission. This
is in case the hard copy does not reach its destination. This e-mail
should contain the information specified in the above section.

Important Dates

* Abstract submission deadline March 15
* Committee's decision April 15
* Authors submit camera-ready text June 3
* Conference August 8-10

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Message 2: Call: RMMLA session on English linguistics DEADLINE 3/1

Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 16:43:14 -0800
From: Tracey McHenry <>
Subject: Call: RMMLA session on English linguistics DEADLINE 3/1

 Call for Papers-English Language Linguistics

56th Annual Convention of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association

October 10-12, 2002
Scottsdale, AZ
Local Host: Arizona State University

Paper proposals on any topic in English language linguistics are being

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words plus a 50-word
description of your proposal by March 1, 2002 to Tracey McHenry by
email (preferred) at

or by snail mail at:

Dr. Tracey McHenry
Eastern Washington University
Department of English
Cheney, WA 99004

Deadline for Submission is March 1.
Presenters will be notified by March 15.
Presenters must be members of RMMLA by April 1.

For further details, see

Tracey McHenry, Ph.D.
English Department
Eastern Washington University
250 Patterson Hall
Cheney, WA 99004-2430
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