[EDLING:152] CFP: Extended deadline for FEL XI

Francis M Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 22 14:43:07 UTC 2007

> The Eleventh Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages: 
> Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
> *Working Together for Endangered Languages: Research Challenges and 
> Social Impacts*
> **University of Malaya
> Kuala Lumpur
> Malaysia
> Dates: 26-28 October 2007
> *
> Call for Abstracts:** FEL XI  - New submission deadline - 31 May 2007*
> * *Globalisation has an impact on societies on various levels. One of 
> its implications is the further endangerment of languages, especially 
> those of minority communities. The looming threat of language loss and 
> death is due to the hegemony of more dominant languages in 
> sociopolitical and economic domains. Linguists therefore have an 
> important role in documenting, projecting, and providing information on, 
> languages which face extinction.
>        Linguists undertaking such research must tread carefully in any 
> community which faces language endangerment. The researcher by his or 
> her very presence can disturb the established social relations, the 
> socio-economic organisation, and the power relations within a community, 
> bringing in more globalisation, and more awareness of and exchange with 
> the outside world. Researchers must be made aware of the impact of their 
> presence.
> Communities facing language endangerment may not be cooperative towards 
> outsiders and may view them with suspicion. In some communities breaking 
> such barriers requires tact, effort, and strategic planning. Members of 
> the community facing endangerment should be perceived and treated by the 
> researchers as experts in their heritage language. Such a view 
> inevitably reduces the power inequality between researchers and members 
> of the endangered language and eases collaboration. Cooperation and 
> collaboration may be impeded if the linguist sees him/herself or is seen 
> as someone who is more authoritative and linguistically more ?correct? 
> than members of the community facing endangerment. Such a perception may 
> result in the infamous observer?s paradox where subjects become less 
> natural in the presence of the researcher.
> When researchers do not take members of the studied communities 
> seriously, collaborative work is impeded as the input provided may be 
> distorted due to the researchers? belief that they are the language 
> experts. Linguists must be objective and this can be a challenge as 
> prior knowledge may interfere in their objectivity. Lack of trust and 
> collaboration may result in information not being provided. One way of 
> combating the failure to share information is to ensure that researchers 
> are aware that different members of the community facing language shift 
> are responsible for different kinds of information.
> If communities are informed of the dangers of losing their languages, 
> they may be inclined to collaborate with the linguists to provide 
> information of the language they speak as on them is entrusted the onus 
> of transmitting their heritage to family members. Promoting the 
> popularity of an endangered language in domains such as the workplace, 
> at home and at school may prove to be difficult, as endangered languages 
> face many obstacles namely from the economic functionalities of more 
> dominant languages and the attitudes of younger speakers. At worst, 
> linguists could be seen as counter-productive by the very community 
> whose language they want to save, because the shift away from an 
> endangered language is at times motivated by upward economic and social 
> mobility.
> The task of the linguist in this is by no means simple. To penetrate and 
> immerse oneself in an ethnolinguistic speech community whose language 
> may be on the verge of death provides the linguist many challenges on 
> the social and relationship levels. While the linguist is required to 
> collect data as a researcher, s/he must also form a relationship with 
> the members of the community so as to collaborate with them in efforts 
> to promote and preserve the language, in ensuring its revival, in 
> establishing devices and procedures to stop endangerment etc. Given that 
> the endangerment of languages can be handled sensitively through 
> collaboration between researchers and members of a community facing 
> language extinction, this Conference will address the research 
> challenges and social impacts of such collaborations. Amongst the 
> questions raised in this Conference are:
> ?        What can researchers do to ensure collaboration with members of 
> the language community? What should the researcher do to find a way into 
> the community through proper and accepted channels? What benefits can a 
> language community expect from such collaboration?
> ?        What are the boundaries that the researcher should not cross in 
> order to protect the rights and privacy of the subjects and to safeguard 
> collaborative ties between community and researcher? What are the limits 
> of researchers? duties to the language community, and vice versa?
> ?        What is ?best practice? for researchers in order to be accepted 
> and trusted as in-group members of the community? Does this require the 
> linguist to reduce his/her role as an expert, in order to build trust 
> and collaboration with the community? Can cultural immersion act as a 
> collaborative means in data collection, creating the notion that the 
> researcher is part of the community?s in-group? Are there any advantages 
> in maintaining distance between researcher and community?
> ?        What options do researchers have if they encounter 
> non-collaborative behaviour from their target subjects?
> ?        Can support for maintenance of an endangered language actually 
> be socially counter-productive, when the shift away from an endangered 
> language is seen as progress in economic and social mobility? In such 
> conditions, can the community be made aware of the importance of 
> language maintenance? How can the researcher convince the community of 
> the negative impact of language loss on their culture and history and, 
> conversely, of the benefits of recovery, preservation, promotion?
> ?        How can language documentation work, and its fruits, be 
> integrated into community activities and community development? In what 
> other ways can linguistic research benefit language maintenance and 
> revitalization?
> ?        How can the researcher guard against personally causing damage 
> to existing social and political structures? In particular, how can the 
> researcher avoid disturbing established social relations and 
> organization by seemingly conferring favours on specific members of the 
> community?
> ?        How can the researcher ensure that s/he is not unwittingly the 
> agent of globalisation within the community and thereby the cause of 
> further socio-economic and cultural disruption?
> Abstracts should make reference to actual language situations , and 
> ideally should draw on personal experience. The aim of the conference is 
> to pool experience, to discuss and to learn from it, not to theorize in 
> the abstract about inter-cultural relations.
> Abstract and Paper Submission Protocols
> In order to present a paper at the Conference, writers must submit in 
> advance an abstract of not more than 500 words before 31 May 2007.  
> Abstracts submitted, which should be in English, must include the 
> following details:
> ?        Title of the paper
> ?        Name of the author(s), organisation to which each belongs
> ?        Postal address of the first author
> ?        Telephone number (and fax number if any)
> ?        Email address(es)
> ?        Abstract text (not more than 500 words)
> The abstracts should be sent via e-mail to waninda2001 at um.edu.my and  
> fel at chibcha.demon.co.uk with the subject of the e-mail stating: ?FEL 
> Abstract: <last name of author(s)>: <title of paper>?  Abstracts will 
> acknowledged on receipt.
> The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence. Writers 
> will be informed once their abstracts have been accepted and they will 
> be required to submit their full papers for publication in the 
> proceedings before 1 September 2007 together with their registration 
> fee. Failure to do so will result in the disqualification of the writers 
> to present their papers. Once accepted, full papers can be submitted in 
> English or Malay. Each standard presentation at the Conference will last 
> twenty minutes, with a further ten minutes for discussion and questions 
> and answers. Plenary lectures will last forty-five minutes each; these 
> are awarded by invitation only.
> Important Dates
> ?        *Abstract *arrival deadline: *31 May 2007 *(extended from 15 May)
> ?        Committee's decision: *25 June 2007*
> ?        In case of acceptance, the *full paper* should be sent by *1 
> September 2007.* (Further details on the format of text will be 
> specified to the authors)
> ?        Conference dates: *26-28 October 2007*
> The site for the 2007 conference of the Foundation of Endangered 
> Languages, hosted jointly this year with SKET, University of Malaya, 
> will be Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
> University of Malaya is the oldest university in Malaysia, and SKET is 
> responsible for 80 co-curricular courses, including ?Ethnic Relations.? 
> (http://www.um.edu.my).
> The Foundation for Endangered Languages is a non-profit organization, 
> registered as Charity 1070616 in England and Wales, founded in 1996. It 
> exists to support, enable and assist the documentation, protection and 
> promotion of endangered languages. (http://www.ogmios.org).
> Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, in an enclave within the state 
> of Selangor. Besides the Malay peninsula Malaysia includes the Sarawak 
> and Sabah regions of Borneo. It has 140 indigenous languages. The 
> indigenous people of Malaya, the orang asli, numbered 105,000 in 1997, 
> 0.5 per cent of the nation's population. By contrast in 1990 there were 
> 900,000 indigenous people in Sabah, and 1.7 million in Sarawak. As the 
> country's largest city, K.L. hosts spectacular modern buildings, notably 
> the Petronas Twin Towers, and most recently, the ?Eye of Malaysia? 
> Ferris wheel. K.L.'s best-preserved colonial buildings are mostly in 
> Merdeka Square, and its Chinatown is also famous. The Batu Caves, 272 
> steps below ground, house the Hindu Lord Muruga. K.L.'s climate is 
> equatorial: warm, sunny and often wet, year-round.
> -- 
> Nicholas Ostler 
> Chairman, Foundation for Endangered Languages
> Registered Charity: England and Wales 1070616
> 172 Bailbrook Lane, Bath, BA1 7AA, England
> nostler at chibcha.demon.co.uk
> http://www.ogmios.org

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