LINGUIST List 23.2944

Thu Jul 05 2012

Calls: Anthropological Ling, Cognitive Science, Historical Ling/ Journal of Language Contact (Jrnl)

Editor for this issue: Brent Miller <>

Date: 03-Jul-2012
From: Robert Nicolaï <>
Subject: Journal of Language Contact
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Full Title: Journal of Language Contact

Call Deadline: 01-Oct-2012

Thematic issue of Journal of Language Contact (JLC)

Limits of contact, contact at its limits. Questioning language contact as'phenomenon', 'concept' and 'construction'.

Abstracts of approximately 300 words should be submitted by 1st October2012.

Please send your proposals (in English or French) to:

First drafts due October 1st 2013 for a thematic issue (Spring 2014).

Full instructions for submission can be found on

The study of language contact has become a popular topic in presentlinguistic research and is thus considered today as a worthwhile scientificinterest. But how to continue for those who have been studying this topic forlong and how to avoid the negative consequences of mainstreamedresearch? The purpose here shall be to critically review the development ofthis issue at distance by focusing on the following points:

1. What can we learn in general from the study of language contact for ourknowledge of languages, their dynamics and their functions (systemicelaborations, language practices, semiotic developments)?2. How should linguistic theory incorporate the empirical findings of languagecontact studies and the underlying postulates of existing models be altered(in our analysis's choices and epistemic frameworks),3. Is the metaphorical concept of 'contact' including all its potential readingsand extensions sustainable and operational (in the same way as 'border','frontier', 'disruption, 'divide' ...),4. Which role does language contact play or has it played for the history oflinguistic research and academic life, in which way has this idea beeninfluential to individual researches and their approaches.

What we expect: papers that critically expose problems in present languagecontact analysis and make progress in the above mentioned issues on thebasis of empirical findings.

Additional comments:

a) Limits of 'contact'. As an empirical phenomenon as such, languagecontact has opened a field of linguistic research in which the dynamics andcircumstantial conditions of language are under scrutiny, including thedynamics of social meaning and anthropology. This reflexive considerationhas led to new perspectives and concepts in linguistic theory; not only withregard to the inventory of descriptive categories (such as code- switching,convergence, language mixing), but also concerning theoretical and analyticalframeworks. Still, whatever may be the role of contact, not anything that isattributed to contact must figure under this heading as there is a risk ofmisinterpreting other phenomenon as outcome of contact. Thus, we need toreflect on the limits and test the explanatory value of 'contact' in empiricalstudies. The issue will be how our understanding of 'language contact' mightbe revisited, by comparing it with related but alternative approaches.b) 'Contact' at its limits. Contact should not be perceived either exclusivelyas a given phenomenon or an object to describe, but moreover as aconstructed concept. This is why it is not intended to be a catch-allexplanation. It shall be designed as a conceptual tool that can be used for thecategorization of dichotomies such as homogeneity/heterogeneity andstability/variation.c) The construction of the 'Contact' issue. Figuring as actors in practices ofscientific communication, theory building and description, it seems finallynecessary to reflect on our roles in the epistemological process; as we, at thesame time, produce and judge our own interpretations.

Page Updated: 05-Jul-2012