Social Representations of Language in Hispanic America (Special Issue of the Boletín de Filología, XLXIX/2, to appear in Dec. 2014)
Darío Rojas, Cristián Lagos and Marco Espinoza
Department of Linguistics, University of Chile
The mental models about language shared by the members of a cultural group, and which serve them to comprehend and perceive the complex linguistic reality, have been studied under different labels and from different theoretical and methodological approaches: language ideologies, linguistic cultures, folk theories of language, or, in more general terms, as social representations of language. Similarly, they have been approached from the framework of studies on metalanguage and from studies on glottopolitics. The focus of these anthropologically inspired approaches is how language becomes a symbolic instrument in the construction of identities and how, though this semiotic process, we can observe the social and cultural life of a community. Besides its anthropological dimension, the relevance of knowing these mental models lies in the fact that any approach that studies language in its social context must necessarily take into account the notions of belief, perception and attitude. As human beings we do not only "speak", we also reflect about our main communication instrument and express judgments about our own linguistic behavior and that of others. On the other hand, it has been proven that speakers' representations about their language(s) have an influence on language change, language learning and on language maintenance, death and revitalization.
Acknowledging the intrinsic importance of this type of research and the growing interest it has attracted over the last few years in those devoted to the study of language, we are calling for contributions for a forthcoming special issue of the Boletín de Filología, which will gather studies on the social representations of language and the languages of Hispanic America from the diverse disciplinary areas of language studies and from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. The Spanish language will be the main focus of this issue, but we also welcome contributions on indigenous or immigrant languages in contact with Spanish in Hispanic America. The relevant sociolinguistic landscape for this special issue, i.e., Hispanic America, is characterized by an overwhelming dominance of Spanish, the language of European colonizers, over the native indigenous languages in most countries of the region, indigenous languages which are at different points on the continuum of language endangerment. It is also possible to find languages for international communication, such as English, as a result of globalization, and a series of minority languages and varieties spoken by immigrants, or in border areas or in situations of linguistic and cultural contact. All these language varieties coexist in a complex network of social, cultural, political and economic relations. Consequently , there is a wide range of issues that can be approached from the perspective of social representations of language, specifically in the case of Hispanic America, an area with aspects still unexplored, such as the social representations of language in migration processes or the mutual influence between indigenous and non-indigenous linguistic cultures, among others.
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 31 October 2013.
The deadline for receipt of the final paper is 15 April 2014.
Languages: Spanish or English