Call for Abstracts: FEL X - VITAL VOICES: Endangered Languages & Multilingualism

Nicholas Ostler nostler at CHIBCHA.DEMON.CO.UK
Thu Mar 23 15:52:19 UTC 2006

  The Foundation for Endangered Languages: Tenth Conference in 
association with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, 
India. 25-27 October 2006.

The Foundation for Endangered Languages, in association with the Central 
Institute of Indian Languages, will hold its annual 2006 conference in 
India, home of more than a thousand languages and dialects, and a 
consciously multilingual policy stance by the Government of India. 
Although many of these languages enjoy political and economic patronage, 
others are struggling to survive. Among these strugglers are the 
languages of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where communities are not 
only tiny, but also some of the most anciently independent tribes on the 
planet. The viability of many such small languages is threatened.

This year's conference concerns the effects of multilingualism on 
smaller languages. A crucial question for this conference is how far 
poorly-conceived language planning policies may actually contribute to 
environmental imbalance and instability, dangers that are often very 
little understood. As we understand the effort to revitalize languages, 
this is no more than the support they need to develop in the face of new 
demands, including the increased bi- and multi-lingualism coming from 
globalization, urbanization and language contact.

    Some Issues for the Conference:

We hope to discuss these issues in terms of actual language situations 
presented by our participants.

·     Are minority languages threatened, or strengthened, through 
bilingualism or multilingualism with other languages? Is it essential 
for the survival of a small language to sustain a minimum-sized core 
group of language-dominant speakers?

·        What factors beside the prospect of competitive economic 
benefits can sustain language use in a community (and indeed re-orient 
the language planners)?

·         Is bilingual language planning important for families based on 
cross-cultural/linguistic marriages? More generally, what role is there 
for language planners in the future of a small language or dialect? Is 
language survival helped or hindered by a flexible policy in recognizing 
what languages are actually in use?

·       How significant are social networks for sustaining 'vital 
voices'? Does the context of a consciously multilingual society foster 
use of smaller languages? Is code-switching as common in small minority 
communities and tribes as it is in the elites?

·          How compatible is western-style formal education with 
traditional language use? Are there other models for transmission?

·        Are the prospects of minority languages affected by the 
metropolitan languages through which they may be known to a wider world?

·          Does a language's vitality benefit if it is not closely 
related, or structurally similar, to its neighbours?

·           Is language documentation the only feasible outside response 
to the needs of vital but vanishing voices?

·           How can modern -- often cheap -- technology benefit the 
smallest languages?

'*Vital Voices'* refers to the growing awareness that the survival and 
development of endangered languages are necessary for humanity's future, 
however endangered they may look amidst the statistics generated for 
policy in our globalized economy.

    The Conference Venue

The *Central Institute of Indian Languages*, Mysore, (CIIL) was set up 
by the Government of India in July 1969. It is a large institute with 
seven regional centers spread all over India, and is engaged in research 
and training in Indian languages other than English and Hindi. It helps 
to evolve and implement India's language policy and coordinate the 
development of Indian languages.* Mysore *is a city in the Southern 
Indian <> state of Karnataka 
<>. The former capital of the 
princely state of Mysore, ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty since the 14th 
century, it is now the administrative seat of Mysore District 
<>, the second largest in 
Karnataka, 135 km <> from 
Bangalore <>, the state capital. 
The city is known for its palaces and many other attractions. One of 
these is the Brindavan Gardens laid out beside the Krishnarajasagar dam 
(19km), particularly beautiful at night. There are also the Royal 
Palace, the Chamundi Hills, Srirangapatnam Temple, Ranganthittu Bird 
Sanctuary, Oriental Research Institute, and Museums of Folklore, and of 
Art and Archeology. The conference dates (25-27 October) will allow 
participants, if they wish, to witness Diwali (the festival of lights) 
on 23 October before coming to Mysore. A language-related excursion is 
planned for 28-29 October after the conference.


*Bus*: Mysore has inter-city and sub-urban public bus transportation.

*Rail*: Mysore is connected to Bangalore 
<> to the northeast via Mandya 
<>, and to Hassan 
<> to the northwest, to 
Chamarajanagar <> via 
Nanjangud <> to the southeast.

*Air*: The nearest accessible airport is at Bangalore 

    Submission of Abstracts

If you would like to take part in our conference, please submit an 
abstract of your contribution. Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. 
They may be submitted in either of two ways: by electronic submission, 
or on paper. Most simply, they should be written in English. Other 
languages may also be accepted by prior arrangement with the Programme 
Chair Mahendra Verma mkv1 at <mailto:mkv1 at> or FEL 
Chair Nicholas Ostler <nostler at> 
<mailto:nostler at>

 1) Electronic submission: Electronic submission (*by 18 April 2006*) 
should be as an attachment in Word, or simply as an email message to 
mkv1 at <mailto:mkv1 at>, with copies to 
<FEL at> <mailto:FEL at> and 
mallikarjun at 
<mailto:mallikarjun at>. Please fill in the subject 
domain as follows:


The e-mail should also contain, in the following format:

NAME : Names of the author(s)
AFFILIATION(S): Institution(s) where the author(s) currently work
TITLE: Title of the paper
EMAIL: Email address of the first author, if any
ADDRESS: Postal address of the first author
TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any
FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any

The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence.

 Note. The Conference announcement will also be placed on the net by 
CIIL at <> with facilities for 
submission, and a step-by-step method of submission that will 
automatically send copies of the abstract as above. Dr. B.Mallikarjun of 
CIIL, Mysore (Tel: +91-821-2345007) will be the local point of contact 
for participants.

2) Paper abstracts: Three copies should be sent (to arrive *by 18 April 
2006*) to:

Dr Mahendra Verma
Dept of Language and Linguistic Science
University of York
York YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

 fax +44 1904 432673

This should have a clear short title, but should not bear anything to 
identify the author(s).
On a separate sheet, please include the following information:

NAME: Names of the author(s)
TITLE: Title of the paper
EMAIL: Email address of the first author, if any
ADDRESS: Postal address of the first author
TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any
FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any
The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence.

(If possible, please also send an e-mail to Mahendra Verma 
mkv1 at <mailto:mkv1 at> informing him of the paper 
submission. This is in case the hard copy does not reach its destination 
in time. This e-mail should contain the information specified in the 
above section.)

    Important Notes for Authors

Oral presentations (except for any selected to be keynote addresses) 
will last twenty minutes each, with a further ten minutes for 
discussion. Authors will be expected to submit a written paper with the 
full version of the lecture (up to 8 pages A4), for publication in the 
proceedings, well in advance of the conference. Further details on the 
format of text will be specified to the authors. Authors (and other 
attendees) from outside India will also be required to inform the 
organizers in advance of the following details: Passport Number, 
Citizenship, Date and Place of Issue, for all who wish to be present 
during the conference.

    Important Dates

· Abstract arrival deadline - 18 April 2006
· Committee's decision - 30 April 2006
· Informing authors - 8 May 2006
· Conference Website with all abstracts - 15 May 2006
· In case of acceptance, the full paper needs to be sent by 31 August 2006.
· Conference - 25-27 October 2006

Foundation for Endangered Languages
Registered Charity: England and Wales 1070616
172 Bailbrook Lane, Bath BA1 7AA, England
+44-1225-852865  nostler at

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