LINGUIST List 32.633

Fri Feb 19 2021

Calls: Socioling/Online

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 19-Feb-2021
From: Lotta Aunio <>
Subject: Small-Scale Multilingualism Conference 2
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Full Title: Small-Scale Multilingualism Conference 2
Short Title: SSML2

Date: 16-Aug-2021 - 18-Aug-2021
Location: Helsinki (online), Finland
Contact Person: Lotta Aunio
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 31-Mar-2021

Meeting Description:

As the world has become more global in unprecedented ways, the ability to communicate in multiple languages has become a prized characteristic. Multilingualism has, however, been the majority experience for most of human history. The second ever Small-Scale Multilingualism (SSML2) conference aims to recentre the notion of multilingualism as a natural and typical state of human societies and aims to shift multilingualism into the centre of the academic field of linguistics. We want to think more expansively about what constitutes SSML, and focus on the term “small-scale” as a means to “pay attention to detail”, and “take a look at individuals and localised communities”. Multilingualism is simultaneously a description of an environment and individuals who make up the tapestry of many modes of communicating, including spoken and signed languages. It is in this spirit of inclusion and attention to individuals that we seek funding to experiment with innovative forms of conferencing that would expand accessibility to people from multiple locations, and with diverse needs.

Our conference shows boldness in two ways. First, it aims to redefine SSML as mentioned above, and second, it will pilot an online format that aims at maximum inclusivity and accessibility. This second point has become even more imperative due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. In order to achieve these goals, we seek support in the form of financial and technical resources.

The second SSML conference will be hosted virtually by the University of Helsinki where multilingualism is highly topical as a research topic, but also as social reality. The conference will have wider implications in the field of language planning and policy.

Call for Papers:

The emergent field of Small-Scale Multilingualism (SSML) studies defines SSML as a type of rural language ecology widely attested throughout human history (Evans 2018). Small localities were and remain characterised by extensive internal heterogeneity and linguistic diversity motivated by a broad range of sociopolitical factors. Differently to superdiverse contexts (Blommaert & Rampton 2011) proliferating in the context of recent migration and globalisation, small-scale multilingual situations rely on the presence of highly multilingual individuals who speak, sign, or understand a high number of locally confined languages with low numbers of speakers and on the habitus of maintaining and sharing intricate multilingual repertoires. Such settings have become overshadowed by multilingualism in the more recent ethnolinguistic nation states of the Global North and by their monolingual language ideologies that expanded in the wake of colonisation. As a consequence, multilingualism is most commonly studied from a monolingual vantage point.

The second ever SSML conference aims to re-centre the notion of multilingualism as a natural and typical state of human societies, and to shift multilingualism to the fore of the academic field of linguistics. The theme of the conference is “Language is multilingual”. We think expansively about what constitutes SSML, and focus on the term “small-scale”: as paying attention to detail, zooming in on individuals and localised communities, and foregrounding concepts and ontologies that emerge from their language ideas and language use. Multilingualism is simultaneously a description of an environment and of individuals who create the tapestries of multi-modal interaction, including spoken and signed languages. It is in this spirit of inclusion and attention to individuals that we seek abstracts of contributions for the SSML 2 Conference.

Our conference will have three themes which pilot this broad and innovative approach to SSML:

- New data from rural small-scale multilingualism. Contributions on small-scale, rural settings of the Global South (including minoritised settings in the Global North, for instance in Finland, Russia, or Australia) which provide insight into their historical development and evolution, into language ideas and ideologies, patterns of language acquisition and use, as well as issues of language rights and inclusive multilingual education stemming from them.
- Recentering sign languages as part of multilingualism. Contributions which explore multilingual communication in SSML settings from a multimodal perspective, focusing on how sign and spoken languages co-evolve, co-exist and are shared.
- Minoritised SSML in urban and national contexts. Concerning transformations of SSML settings and speakers through their participation in larger-scale processes that situate them at the periphery (Pietikäinen, Jaffe, Kelly-Holmes & Coupland 2016), from strategic essentialism (Spivak 1988) to the restructuring of repertoires and the emergence of new localised multilingual practices.

Abstracts of 500 words (excluding references) or 5 minute video abstract in International Sign can be submitted here:

Multiple submission welcome. However, you may only be the main author of one paper.

See for full Call of Papers.

Important Dates:
Abstract Due Date - March 31 (Wednesday)
Notification of Acceptance - April 30 (Thursday)
Registration opens - May 17 (Monday)
Registration closes - June 30 (Wednesday)
Submission of pre-recorded videos - July 23 (Friday)
Release of recordings to conference participants – August 4 - 20
Conference Dates: August 16 - 18

- Suomen Kielitieteellinen Yhdistys (SKY – Finnish Linguistic Association
- University of Jyväskylä (
- University of Helsinki (

Page Updated: 19-Feb-2021