LINGUIST List 26.1617

Wed Mar 25 2015

Confs: Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Erin Arnold <>

Date: 25-Mar-2015
From: Rik Vosters <>
Subject: Constructing the Self: Linguistic and Historical Perspectives on Identity and Authenticity
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Constructing the Self: Linguistic and Historical Perspectives on Identity and Authenticity

Date: 24-Apr-2015 - 25-Apr-2015
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Contact: Rik Vosters
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics

Meeting Description:

Interdisciplinary colloquium
Constructing the self:
Linguistic and historical perspectives on identity and authenticity
Sat. 25 April 2015 — Paleis der Academiën, Brussels

Historians and linguists alike share an interest in the everyday writings of ‘common people’. Within the field of social history, approaches from below and Alltagsgeschichte came to the foreground since the 1980s, while within linguistics, the shift from a ‘bird’s eye’ to a ‘worm’s eye’ perspective has taken place in more recent years within the discipline of historical sociolinguistics. On the heuristic level, both disciplines share an interest in similar types of primary sources, such as egodocuments. On the analytical level, both disciplines can also complement each other in terms of their specific areas of expertise. Historical perspectives may provide linguists with contextual insights into the language users they are studying: Who are the common people whose writing they examine, and what do we know about their everyday professional and private life, their schooling, and so on. Linguistic perspectives may in turn inform social historians about the linguistic and communicative repertoire at these writers’ disposal: How did they speak and write, how may this have influenced their daily experiences, and what can we learn about their social background from their language use?

Building on these shared interests, this colloquium intends to bring together experts working on perspectives ‘from below’ in history and linguistics, stimulating scholars from both disciplines to explore common research agendas and possibilities for multidisciplinary approaches from below.

Preceding the colloquium, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will host two master classes on historical and linguistic perspectives ‘from below’ (Friday 24 April 2015). These interactive seminars will be taught by Martyn Lyons, Emeritus Professor of History & European Studies and a leading expert on the writing culture of ordinary people, and Stephan Elspaß, University Professor for Germanic Linguistics and a leading expert on language history from below.

Full program now available on:

Page Updated: 25-Mar-2015