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LINGUIST List 21.2181

Tue May 11 2010

Calls: Socioling, Writing Systems/United Kingdom

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Esther-Miriam Wagner, Scribes as Agents of Language Change

Message 1: Scribes as Agents of Language Change
Date: 11-May-2010
From: Esther-Miriam Wagner <emw36cam.ac.uk>
Subject: Scribes as Agents of Language Change
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Full Title: Scribes as Agents of Language Change

Date: 04-Apr-2011 - 06-Apr-2011
Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Esther-Miriam Wagner
Meeting Email: emw36cam.ac.uk

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics; Writing Systems

Call Deadline: 30-Jun-2010

Meeting Description:

This interdisciplinary conference aims to highlight the importance of written
texts as a rich and promising source of data for the examination of language
change using the techniques of sociolinguistics, and to investigate the
emergence of language registers and the spread of innovation within scribal
networks.

The proposed conference will bring together scholars working on the scribal
cultures of various languages, from the earliest written to medieval
languages, to investigate how standard and substandard registers of
languages emerge out of the scribal communities, and to apply
sociolinguistic methods to determine how innovations spread within scribal
networks and how language change occurs within written registers of
languages.




Organizing committee: Esther-Miriam Wagner (T-S Genizah Research Unit,
University of Cambridge) and Eitan Grossman (Hebrew University of
Jerusalem & Université de Liège)

Call for Papers

Scribes as Agents of Language Change
St John's College, Cambridge
4th-6th April 2011

The value of written sources for the study of sociolinguistics has been
overlooked due to its focus on oral communication. It has often been
remarked that written records are an imperfect source for the study of
language change, or as Labov put it, historical linguistics is 'the art of
making the best use out of bad data' (1994: 11). The relatively recent fields
of historical sociolinguistics and historical pragmatics, however, have
provided new theoretical frameworks and methodological tools for the study
of language change (Romaine 1982, Bergs 2005), for instance, social
network analysis as applied to scribal networks. Furthermore, recent years
have seen a growing recognition that speakers and listeners in actual
communicative situations - as opposed to abstract forces or structures - are
the primary agents of change (e.g., Keller 1994, Croft 2000). However,
these latter studies have rarely taken an interest in the close analysis of
texts and their writers and addressees. In fact, speakers and writers are
often conflated, as are listeners and readers. As a result, little attention has
been paid to the actual producers and consumers of the written texts that
constitute the data for the study of language change. Moreover, the great
majority of work carried out in historical sociolinguistics and related fields
has mainly dealt with the Germanic languages of Western and Northern
Europe. The aim of the proposed conference is to bring together scholars
working on scribal cultures of various languages, from the earliest written to
medieval languages, to investigate how standard and substandard registers
of languages emerge out of scribal communities, and to apply sociolinguistic
methods to determine how innovations spread within scribal networks and
how language change occurs within written registers of languages.

Could anyone interested in attending and presenting a paper please send
an abstract to Esther-Miriam Wagner (emw36cam.ac.uk) until 30th June.

Organizing committee:
Esther-Miriam Wagner (T-S Genizah Research Unit, University of
Cambridge) and Eitan Grossman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem &
Université de Liège)
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