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Speaking about Boundaries: Multilingualism in Europe
Message 1: Speaking about Boundaries: Multilingualism in Europe
From: Tanja Proebstl <languagetalks11lrz.uni-muenchen.de>
Subject: Speaking about Boundaries: Multilingualism in Europe
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Full Title: Speaking about Boundaries: Multilingualism in Europe..
Date: 16-Feb-2011 - 18-Feb-2011
Location: Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Contact Person: Tanja Proebstl
Meeting Email: languagetalks11lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Web Site: http://www.languagetalks.fak13.uni-muenchen.de
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Call Deadline: 30-Nov-2010
Speaking about Boundaries. Multilingualism in Europe and the World
Graduate Conference at Munich University
16-18 February 2011
Call For Papers
The doctoral programmes of Linguistics and Literature at Munich University
invite you to hand in contributions to the interdisciplinary conference
Speaking about Boundaries. Multilingualism in Europe and the World. The
conference, which will take place in Munich from Wednesday, 16 February
to Friday, 18 February, addresses the four following core areas:
I. Language of the self and of the 'other'
Encountering the language of the 'other' may render one's own language a
potential 'foreign language'. This panel invites reflections on what is alien
in one's own language and on the question what makes foreign languages
alien. What do misunderstandings, non-understanding and the experience
of language boundaries reveal about a person's or language community's
capacity of language comprehension? It is not only the confrontation with
foreign languages that makes one's own seem foreign: The literary use of
words, or simply the isolation of a single expression, can also lead to
alienation. As Karl Krauss once put it: 'The longer you look at a word, the
more foreign it will look back (at you).' What literary techniques are
responsible for such effects? Can alienation from one's own language be
described from a linguistic point of view? From an interdisciplinary
perspective, the following questions are also relevant: Can such an
alienation be observed increasingly for example in foreign language
acquisition, and, vice versa, to what extent is it one's mother tongue that
influences learning success and strategies?
II. Power and resistance
Language encounters do not always take place between equal partners. In
(post-)colonial contexts particularly, languages are used as an instrument of
power. But even within Europe, political conflicts manifest themselves in the
confrontation of 'smaller' languages with official national ones. For instance,
how pertinent is Max Weinreich's statement that a language is 'a dialect with
an army and a navy'? This panel deals with the role of minority languages,
official languages and language prohibitions. How can one be kept separate
from the other? How are political and social affinities defined through
languages and dialects? What happens to the communities' culture when a
language is imposed on them? With what strategies do they confront the
language of the oppressor? In the South-American and African postcolonial
context, intertextually marked strategies of 'writing back' play an important
role; what also needs to be considered here is the question of whether
there are similar attempts within Europe.
III. Language contact and hybridisation
The language confrontations leave traces, among them are creoles and
other hybridisations of language, such as Spanglish in the context of the
Latino-American diasporas in the United States. The 'adoption' of single
expressions due, for example to the international influence of English, also
sheds an interesting light on the role of language contacts in periods of
globalisation. In contrast to panel II, primarily the productive aspects of
language encounters and acquisition are to be considered here.
Translators and interpreters, in guiding the contacts between different
language communities, hold an intermediate position in the network of
power and linguistic creativity. Thus, they might become betrayers of their
own and the foreign language, but they can also enrich and shape both
languages and cultures at the same time. What is of interest in this panel,
beyond the obvious influences of languages on each other, are the
particular convergences that speakers are not immediately aware of. On a
diachronic level, this could be, for instance, Sprachbund phenomena, or, on
a synchronic level, assimilation strategies in actual discourse (for instance
those of a phonetic-phonological nature).
IV. Artificial languages and language utopias
On the one hand, the term 'artificial languages (in more than one sense)'
applies to the languages of arts - specific languages in a multilingual world.
How do literary languages differ from other ones? On the other hand,
'artificial languages'' are also planned, invented languages. Here, we are
thinking of (utopic or concrete) conceptions of languages as reactions to
multilingualism - such as universal languages, transparent object-
languages, proto-language(s), meta-languages, ideas concerned with
globally comprehensible planned languages like Esperanto or Volapük,
secret languages, and also specific conceptions of literary language.
Moreover, this panel aims at analysing the artificiality of several existing
languages, for example the artificiality of academic languages (according to
Thomas S. Kuhn) as languages which are in each case introduced by
paradigmatic academic contributions and reproduced by textbooks, which
are basically incommensurable and primarily attempt to limit multilingualism.
Last but not least, this panel invites reflections on the political aspect in the
constitution of artificial languages.
Abstracts containing a maximum of 400 words (including selected
references) can be handed in by doctoral and post-doctoral candidates by
the end of November 2010. Participants will be selected by mid-December.
Presentations should take about 20 minutes (there will be time for
discussion at the end) and may be delivered in either German or English.
Selected contributions will be published in our languagetalks proceedings.
The panels will be opened by the following plenary speakers: Yaron Matras
(Manchester), Manfred Schmeling (Saarbrücken), Ludwig M. Eichinger
(Mannheim) and Ottmar Ette (Potsdam).
Please send your abstract to languagetalks11lrz.uni-muenchen.de by 30
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