LINGUIST List 5.194

Tue 22 Feb 1994

Confs: Language and Archaeology

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  1. Malcolm Ross, WORLD ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONGRESS 3: Language and Archaeology

Message 1: WORLD ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONGRESS 3: Language and Archaeology

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:32:35 WORLD ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONGRESS 3: Language and Archaeology
From: Malcolm Ross <>
Subject: WORLD ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONGRESS 3: Language and Archaeology

New Delhi, India, 4-11 December 1994


Theme Organisers: S.P. Gupta (India), R.M. Blench (England), M. Spriggs
(Australia) and C. Renfrew (England).

Registration Data
Dr. Makkan Lal, WAC 3,
P.O. Box 112
H.P.O. Aligarh 202001

Academic Liaison:
or participants from Australia, the Pacific and Southeast Asia:
Matthew Spriggs
Dept of Prehistory, RSPAS
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, Australia 0200.
ax (61-6) 249-4896; Telephone (61-6) 2492217,2493040.

or other participants:
Roger Blench
15, Willis Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AQ
Voice/Answerphone/Fax. (44) 223-560687
United Kingdom

The focus of this theme is the relationship between language and
archaeology, very broadly defined. This ranges from the biological
(origins of language, genetics and linguistics) through social and
historical (sociolinguistics, oral tradition etc.) to the wider issues of
correlating linguistic hypotheses with archaeological data.

A.) RELATING ARCHAEOLOGY AND LANGUAGE: The relationship between "language"
and "culture", the origins and evolution of language, processes of
linguistic change and their archaeological implications. This consists of
a series of primarily methodological papers.

i. Archaeology/Biology and the Origins of Language. The antiquity of
human language remains extremely controversial. Archaeological evidence has
been used to date its first appearance, but no one schema has yet gained
general acceptance. Co-ordinators: Iain Davidson (UNE, Australia) and
Andrew Lock (Massey U, New Zealand).

ii. Problems in the Definition of Macro-Phyla and Possible
Archaeological Correlates. How related are the world's languages and how
might this have implications for the spread of modern humans? Co-ordinator:
Colin Renfrew (Cambridge U, UK).

iii. Implications of Human Genetics for Language Grouping. Recent
studies in various areas of the world at macro and micro-level are
providing fascinating evidence of human genetic groupings in relation to
language boundaries, and bringing out new theories to explain the fit or
lack of fit in particular cases. Co-ordinators: Rebecca Cann (U of Hawaii),
Kenneth Kidd (Yale U, USA) and Susan Serjeantson (ANU, Australia).

iv. Language and Prehistoric and Historic Migrations. Examines the
archaeological evidence adduced for migrations, along with the perhaps
cautionary tales of the archaeological evidence (or lack of it) for
historically known migrations which have had a linguistic impact.
Co-ordinators: V. Alekshin (Institute of Archaeology, St Petersburg,
Russia), John Hines (U of Wales, Cardiff) and Kristian Kristiansen
(Copenhagen, Denmark).

v. Dating Language Spread and Change. Examines the somewhat
instinctive feel linguists have for how quickly languages change, hopefully
to make more explicit their reasoning and the extent to which it is based
on now-perhaps discredited methods such as glottochronology. Attempts to
calibrate linguistic change to radiocarbon dates will be considered.
Co-ordinators: Malcolm Ross and Matthew Spriggs (ANU, Australia).

vi. Language and Society: Variation and Change. Includes topics such as
language diversity, trade languages, pidgins and creoles, language
levelling, language switch and obsolescence. All of these sociolinguistic
processes can be expected to have archaeological implications but have been
rarely considered by archaeologists. Co-ordinators: Tom Dutton, Darrell
Tryon (ANU, Australia).

vii. Proto-Lexicons and the Origins of Agriculture. How far can
linguistics be used to reconstruct vocabularies relating to the "homeland"
of particular language families, and to the subsistence practices of the
speakers of reconstructed proto-languages? Can such reconstructions be
correlated with archaeological manifestations realting to the origins and
spread of agriculture? Co-ordinators: Robert Blust (U of Hawaii) and Peter
Bellwood (ANU, Australia).

viii. Geographically-Informative Semantic Fields. Animal and fish names,
flora and meteorological terms can help place the locations of particular
language stages or in showing connections between areas. Toponymy is
perhaps an old-fashioned topic in Europe but may be worthy of further
consideration. Co-ordinator: Jean-Marie Hombert (Universit=E9 de Lyon, II,

ix. Oral Traditions, Myths and Archaeology. Considers traditions and
myths of origin and other methods of self-perception in relation to
archaeology and language. Examples include French work in the Pacific
attempting to relate voyaging traditions and historical migrations, and
Australian research examining Aboriginal stories in relation to movements
of groups and languages. Co-ordinator: Daniel Frimigacci (CNRS, France).=

bringing in the methodological concerns of earlier sessions and a summing
up of the major theme. It will also give the opportunity to present more
specialist papers relating to particular language groups.

i. East Asia. Co-ordinator: Gina Barnes (Cambridge U, UK).

ii. Europe/Asia. Co-ordinators: J.P. Mallory (Queen's U of Belfast,
Northern Ireland) and Victor Shnirelman (Institute of Ethnology, Moscow,

iii. Central Asia/Himalayas. Co-ordinator: George van Driem (U of
Leiden, Holland)

iv. Indian Subcontinent. Co-ordinator: S.P. Gupta (New Delhi, India).

v. Indian Ocean. Co-ordinator: Claude Allibert (CEROI-INALCO, France).

vi. Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Co-ordinator: Andrew Pawley (ANU,

vii. Australia. Co-ordinator: Darrell Tryon (ANU, Australia).

viii. Africa. Co-ordinators: Roger Blench and David Phillipson (Cambridge
U, UK) and Kay Williamson (Port Harcourt, Nigeria).
 Subsession: Eastern Africa. Co-ordinator: Mark Horton (Bristol U, UK).
 Subsession: West Africa. Co-ordinator: Roger Blench (Cambridge, UK).
 Subsession: Southern Africa. Co-ordinator: Rainer Vossen (U Munich)

ix. The Americas.

The following timings are proposed:

TITLES and ABSTRACTS as soon as possible. Titles should be sent both to
Makkan Lal, along with registration, and to Matthew Spriggs or Roger
Blench. Abstracts to Matthew Spriggs or Roger Blench. They will forward
them to the co-ordinators of individual sessions.

PAPERS by 30th June, 1994. One copy to Makkan Lal, one copy to Matthew
Spriggs or Roger Blench. For multiplication purposes the paper should
contain no more than 3,500 words, but this is not a restriction for
publication purposes.

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