LINGUIST List 24.4720

Sat Nov 23 2013

Calls: French, Sociolinguistics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Bryn Hauk <>

Date: 22-Nov-2013
From: Claus D. Pusch <>
Subject: Languages in the Public Space of the Francophone World
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Full Title: Languages in the Public Space of the Francophone World
Date: 24-Sep-2014 - 27-Sep-2014 Location: Münster in Westfalen, Germany Contact Person: Claus D. Pusch
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): French

Call Deadline: 31-Jan-2014

Meeting Description:

Languages in the public space of the Francophone world
Linguistic Landscape Studies at the interface of contact linguistics, sociology of language and linguistic ecology

Session Organizers:

Mónica Castillo Lluch (University of Lausanne / Switzerland)
Alexandra Duppé (RWTH Aachen / Germany)
Claus D. Pusch (University of Freiburg im Breisgau / Germany)

This session is organized in the context of the 9th German Congress on French Language and Literature (9. Kongress des Frankoromanistenverbandes) at Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany. Practical information on travel, accommodation, the inscription procedure etc. will be available on the conference website at

Call for Papers:

In recent decades, Linguistic Landscape Studies (LLS) has established itself as an analytic approach towards the presence of (written) language(s) in the public space. Target areas for practitioners of LLS are preferably located in urban environments: on the one hand, those which are considered monolingual but are characterized by a multilingualism that has evolved out of unplanned processes of migration, transculturation and globalization, and on the other hand, those which are considered territorially or administratively bi- or multilingual and where the presence of multiple languages in the public sphere is the result of (more or less) coherent language planning and language policy.

Even if the status of LLS is object of some controversy (cf. CfP), it goes without saying that this approach is characterized by a multitude of interfaces with other disciplines and domains of knowledge. Thus, our panel has a twofold aim: first, we invite practitioners of LLS to present case studies based on empirical research in Francophone areas in the broad sense, i.e. where French is either the dominant language, a minority language or a contact language. Second, we wish to provide room for discussion on methodological reflections concerning the potentials and limits of LLS. We would particularly appreciate talks that combine the two perspectives, i.e. empirical case studies, and methodological and epistemological reflections (cf. CfP).

We invite case studies of LLS in the Francophone world and papers on methodological questions such as the following:

- Do LLS necessarily study 'cityscapes' (cf. Gorter 2006: 83)? Or can language diversity in public spaces also be observed in areas outside of urban agglomerations (cf. Gade 2003, for example) in today's society of globalized information (and if so, to which degree?)?
- Do the quantitative approach applied in most of the LLS projects up to now, and the requirement of full coverage and exhaustive data collection in the determined target zone guarantee valid and convincing results? Or might it be preferable to opt for qualitative approaches (and if so,: with which object of study precisely? Cf. Jaworski / Thurlow 2010) or for hybrid 'mixed' methods which are quite popular in different areas of study of contemporary linguistics and which would combine the two approaches?
- Is the concentration in LLS on the scriptural elements in the linguistic landscape, which ignores or treats peripherally other signs and semiotic levels observable in the public space, justified as a means of necessary reductionism which holds for any scientific methodology aiming at realistic and feasible results? Or does such reductionism prevent scholars of LLS from fully grasping and describing the multimodality of linguistic landscapes adequately (cf. again Jaworski / Thurlow 2010)?
- Which is the role of the individual subject who perceives the linguistic landscape in the conceptual construction of the latter? In many LLS projects, it is the researcher her-/himself whose perception of the public space determines the quality of the observed data and that of the results derived from their analysis. However, the researcher-observer's perception is not the same as that of an observing 'layman'. However, how can the perceptual pathway of such a lay observer and her/his necessarily selective and, therefore, hierarchical vision of a linguistic landscape be documented and integrated into LLS studies, especially if the criterion of (technical and ethical) feasibility is taken into account?
- On the epistemological level, do LLS constitute a new 'school' or maybe even a new discipline within linguistics, or should they be given the more modest status of a (new?) methodological paradigm? Is the LLS methodology able to produce innovative results that can not be provided by other established research methods in socio- and contact linguistics?

Paper proposals, which should not exceed 500 words (bibliographical references included), must be sent in PDF format, with the indication of the author's / authors' name(s), address(es) and contact details on a separate page, by email to the organizers of the panel:

Mónica Castillo Lluch (

The talks, which will be organized in 30-minutes slots, can be given in French (preferred), German, or English. Proposals should be written in the language that the author(s) intend(s) to use in the oral presentation. The deadline for submissions is January, 31, 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out to the submitters before February, 28, 2014.

Page Updated: 23-Nov-2013