Call for papers: War and Peace in the Life of Language: A Symposium on the Role of Extra- and Intralinguistic Conflicts in the Development of Language Theory and Practice

1 October 2013

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University of Nottingham (UK campus), 25 and 26 April 2014.

Language often presents a battlefield upon which conflicts regarding the “right” and “wrong” approaches to practice or theory are played out. The prescribed norm of a standardised language may be perceived as being threatened by innovations and external influences, against which concerned language users feel themselves moved to fight or take action.

The trauma of war or socio-political tensions can necessitate the taking of measures to regulate the teaching and use of a language. With regard to language pedagogy, linguistic and psychological paradigm shifts can result in conflicting methodologies and lead to new approaches to the learning and teaching of a second language. In cultural, ideological and military conflict, translation and interpreting may be politicised; they may be used to justify or legitimise positions but also to mediate conflict.

In each of these cases, there is a clash between two or more groups, each of which believes that it can claim the one correct variety or philosophy of language or the one correct approach. These conflicts may be inter-generational, or may involve groups of different philosophical, social or political backgrounds. Equally, extra-linguistic conflicts and socio-political tensions inevitably modify the conditions in which language is used, which often serves as a catalyst for the development of new directions in linguistic theory and practice. Although the majority of the issues mentioned above have received due attention in both scholarly and public discussions, the aim of this conference is to focus on the role of conflict in shaping the development of language theory and practice.

Topics of interest include the following:

  • tensions between language norm and actual language use
  • challenges for modern day corpus planning presented by the use of language in social media
  • political conflicts and their impact on language theory and language practice
  • disputes between the proponents of contrasting approaches to language pedagogy and linguistic theory
  • reactions to – and actions against – the borrowing of foreign linguistic material into a language
  • linguistic hegemony and minority languages
  • émigré views of a native language and the actual use of that language in the home country
  • changes in Translation Studies in response to social and political developments
  • gender challenges to standard language use

We invite proposals for presentations (a 20-minute paper followed by a 10-minute discussion) which focus on any of the topics listed above, or which deal with another aspect of the influence of extra- or intra-linguistic conflict on the development of applied and theoretical linguistics. The working language of the conference will be English, but presentations may deal with any language(s).

Anonymous abstracts of 300 words should be submitted by email to [email protected] in .doc, .docx, .txt or .pdf format. Please include name(s) and affiliation(s) in the body of your message.

It is intended that conference papers will be published in themed volumes of peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is Friday 13 December 2013. Notification of acceptance will be sent in mid-January 2014.

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