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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Conference Information



Full Title: Tromsø International Conference on Language Diversity

      
Short Title: TromSlang
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Start Date: 06-Nov-2013 - 08-Nov-2013
Contact: Øystein A. Vangsnes
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://uit.no/languagediversity
Meeting Description: The Tromsø International Conference on Language Diversity will be organized by the University of Tromsø from 6-8 November 2013 in Tromsø, Norway.

A central objective of the conference is to bring together research and policy making in the area of language diversity. Keynote speakers will include academics, politicians and public administrators.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Kenneth R. Beesley, SAP Labs, Salt Lake City, USA
Raphael Berthele, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Ellen Bialystok, York University, Canada
Mikel Forcada, University of Alicante
Kendall King, University of Minnesota, USA
Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Invited Thematic Workshops:

‘Bilingualism, Biliteracy, and Cognition’ - organized by Antonella Sorace and Yulia Rodina
‘Standardising Minority Languages - Policy and Practice’ - organized by Pia Lane
‘The Impact of Language Technology on Society’ - organized by Giellatekno - Center for Saami Language Technology

Background:

The Tromsø International Conference on Language Diversity will be one of the seven main events during Språkåret 2013, the Norwegian national Language Year 2013, which marks both the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian linguist and poet Ivar Aasen and the 100th anniversary of Det Norske Teatret (‘The Norwegian Theater’). Språkåret 2013 aims to be a generous and inclusive celebration of language diversity.

Language is the most important defining characteristic of human beings. Yet, language comes in a multitude of forms, and differences across languages and variation within them affect society and the lives of individuals in a number of ways. Why don’t we all speak the same? Why do some societies manage well with several languages whereas others do not? Why are regional languages promoted in some areas and why are minority languages suppressed in others? How is cognitive development in children affected by growing up with two rather than just one language - or with two dialects rather than just one? Do language issues affect the health of a population? Does language diversity constitute a security challenge in certain circumstances? Is the ability to understand closely related linguistic varieties desirable, and if so, should it be promoted through political measures?

The questions are numerous and the central purpose of the conference is to highlight them and bring together research and policy making in discussing the assets and challenges regarding language diversity. Thematically the conference will focus on three main areas: cognitive and developmental aspects of language diversity, its impact on society in general, and language technology. There will be a combination of parallel sessions/workshops, plenary talks and panel debates, and we envisage discussions on issues such as the economic and societal benefits of language diversity, language diversity in education, language diversity as cultural heritage, the future of language diversity in language technology, etc.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Applied Linguistics; Language Documentation; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 24.1940


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