LINGUIST List 30.1021

Mon Mar 04 2019

Calls: Anthro Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Typology/Finland

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 01-Mar-2019
From: Olesya Khanina <>
Subject: Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Role of Water Transit Points in Past Societies
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Full Title: Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Role of Water Transit Points in Past Societies
Short Title: Down by the water

Date: 06-Nov-2019 - 08-Nov-2019
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Contact Person: Olesya Khanina
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Typology

Call Deadline: 30-Apr-2019

Meeting Description:

Waterways have been key factors in the development of societies from prehistoric times to nowadays, particularly due to their role as vectors for cultural interactions, material exchange, and transmission of knowledge. The fluidity of these highways of transport and communications is tightly linked to the presence of transit points: spaces with unique geographical characteristics that acted as nodal points between different communities. Transit points are thus defined as places of intense social contacts, putting objects of physical geography into the domain of social sciences and humanities.

The subject is challenging, as many activities that happen in the aquatic spaces seldom leave substantial archaeological traces behind due to the nature of the activities (for example, some actions take place on board vessels), or the inaccessibility of the archaeological remains (for example, submerged or silted spaces). In some instances, the location might have been obscured by lack of remains, but the impact of those interactions is visible in other ways, such as nautical technology or language exchanges.

Rivers are particularly relevant to language exchanges, as they have been crucial in defining language contact areas in such diverse parts of the world as Amazonia, Northern Europe, and Siberia, among others: in some cases, riverside locations are known to be areas of linguistic similarity resulting from long-term exchange relations between speakers of unrelated languages or from a population spread along a river path. In other areas, riverside locations can be areas of the most linguistic diversity if they serve as a marketplace to which temporarily gather representatives of the otherwise geographically distant language communities.

By engaging with interdisciplinary theoretical approaches like the maritime cultural landscape, boat biographies, or language contact studies, researchers will be able to recognize the impact of maritime or fluvial cultures onto their social framework and bring a balance to the narratives of the past in regions with amphibious landscapes.
This conference seeks to challenge the interaction between models and particular case studies. To this aim, we would like to invite proposals from scholars conducting research in different fields whose focus is human activities in rivers, sea-river, and coastal transit points with a broad geographic and chronological perspective. With this interdisciplinary approach, we expect to demonstrate what can be achieved by changing the research paradigm to one that fully embraces the nuances of the aquatic world, and specially the intricate connection between water spaces and humans.

Plenary Speakers:

Himanshu Prabha Ray (Jawaharlal Nehru University),
Christoph Schäfer (University of Trier),
Rik Van Gijn (University of Zurich),
Crystal El Safadi (University of Southampton)

Organizing Committee:

Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä, HCAS
Olesya Khanina, HCAS/ Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Emilia Mataix Ferrandiz, HCAS
Veronica Walker Vadillo, HCAS

Call for Papers:

Suggested topics:

- Port and harbour communities
- Trade and economics at transit points
- Human-environment interactions along waterways
- Nautical technology and design: exchanges and group identity
- Linguistic dispersal through waterways
- Language contact and waterways
- Multilingualism along major rivers

Prospective presenters are requested to submit an abstract in a .docx file containing:

- Title of the presentation
- Name of the presenter
- Email and affiliation
- Abstract of no more than 250 words.
- Keywords

Submission deadline: 30 April 2019
Submissions should be made to:
Further inquiries should be made to:
Veronica Walker Vadillo at (general issues) or Olesya Khanina at (linguistic issues)

Page Updated: 04-Mar-2019