14.1104, Calls: Sociolinguistics/Germany

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LINGUIST List:  Vol-14-1104. Mon Apr 14 2003. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 14.1104, Calls: Sociolinguistics/Germany

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Date:  Fri, 11 Apr 2003 02:34:17 +0000
From:  Puetz at uni-landau.de
Subject:  30th International LAUD Symposium: Empowerment Through Language

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Fri, 11 Apr 2003 02:34:17 +0000
From:  Puetz at uni-landau.de
Subject:  30th International LAUD Symposium: Empowerment Through Language

30th International LAUD Symposium: Empowerment Through Language

Date: 19-APR-04 - 22-APR-04
Location: Landau i.d. Pfalz, Germany
Contact: Martin Pütz
Contact Email: Puetz at uni-landau.de

Linguistic Sub-field: Sociolinguistics
Call Deadline: 15-May-2003

Meeting Description:

Masses of people in the world are powerless because of language.  Can
language also become an instrument for the empowerment of those
masses? And if so, how?

Second Call for Papers LAUD Symposium 2004 (April 19-22, 2004)


Main Plenary Speaker
Joshua Fishman
Yeshiva University, New York
Stanford University, CA

What Exactly is Power in Sociolinguistics?

Other plenary speakers:

Neville Alexander (Cape Town, South Africa)
Ulrich Ammon (Duisburg, Germany)
Herman Batibo (Gaborone, Botswana)
Michael Clyne (Melbourne, Australia)
John Edwards (Antigonish, Canada)
Ali Mazrui (New York, USA)
Jiri Neustupny (Tokyo, Japan)
Bernard Spolsky (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Guadalupe Valdés (Stanford, USA)
Albert Weideman (Pretoria, South Africa)

Masses of people in the world are powerless because of language.  Can
language also become an instrument for the empowerment of those
masses? And if so, how?

The symposium intends to discuss the (A) sociolinguistic situation of
large communities that are marginalised as a result of language, the
(B) socio-political factors perpetuating their exclusion from access
to knowledge and skills, the (C) pedagogical constraints under which
teachers work in the school systems imposed on them, and the (D)
didactic strategies that could reverse this process of individual and
collective minorization.

(A) Millions of children on all continents do not get instruction in
their first language. Thus there is a dramatic sociolinguistic
discontinuity between their pre-school cognitive categories and the
more abstract re-categorisation which the primary school normally
effectuates. The discontinuity follows from the clash between the
intuitive categories children have built up via their mother tongue
and those of the foreign language they are supposed to use both in
rethinking the intuitive categories built up from their experiences of
the world, and in transforming these into a network of more abstract
cognitive relations. This situation occurs with many, if not most,
children of immigrants in Europe, with Latinos in the U.S.A., with
most children learning via exocentric languages in Africa, with native
Americans on the American continent or Aborigines in Australia, and
with many similar victims of Western expansion all over the world.

(B) For the purposes of the symposium, we will focus on how the
challenge of empowering people through language normally comes to a
head in instructional arrangements. It is at this socio-political
juncture that the demands of, inter alia, parents and officialdom
force themselves upon those teachers and language instructors who are,
in turn, expected to make good the expectations of parents and the
body politic. Often, those who have political power impose an
inefficient language policy, which creates among parents the false
image that the exocentric language, be it English or French, is the
lever for upward social mobility for their children. Apparently,
teachers and language instructors themselves may have very little
control over a number of conditions that have created barriers for
their learners before they even arrive in their classes.

(C) One may look from several different angles at the pedagogical
problems that teachers and learners face when they are expected to
teach and learn in another language in such a context. The first
parameter is that teachers have to act against the wishes of parents
who, even if there is a choice, prefer a high status language (such as
English) for their children to learn than a low status language (often
the first language of their children). Secondly, especially in higher
grades, language teachers reap the doubtful rewards of learners who
have become enliterated in less than ideal ways. Thirdly, given the
lack of suitable and appropriate reading materials complementing
classroom learning, and, fourthly, given organisational arrangements
that further obstruct language learning, one indeed has a recipe for
low levels of language proficiency among learners. As regards the
latter, scholars have over the last decade begun to indicate that
there are discourse practices at institutions of learning that
socially construct illiteracy.

(D) Seen from a didactic point of view, how can and do teachers
respond to these challenges? The symposium cannot solve institutional
problems, but it can try to make a scientifically sound diagnosis of
the problems, and hopefully suggest remedies and ways of creating
conditions that are conducive to learning. It can also try to see what
the actors who are most likely to contribute to empowerment can
do. These are not the parents or government officials, but the
insiders, that is, both learners and teachers. Only they can bring
about changes within what is often a negative framework and a set of
conditions that is detrimental to learning and teaching.

Where do teachers turn for solutions? Post-modernist critiques of
methods have played an important part in making many language teachers
cynical about the effectiveness of selecting one method instead of
another. Within that component of applied linguistics that concerns
itself with language teaching, many are suggesting that it is probably
more useful to look at the strategies that language learners employ,
and even to teach good strategies consciously. There is indeed a new
wave of consciousness training or awareness raising. It might well be
that our own teaching strategies are at odds with learners. beliefs
about language learning, and teachers have to deal with that as
well. Finally, there is a renewed interest in the beliefs that
teachers themselves hold with respect to language learning, beliefs
that are expressed in their own teaching style. The symposium will
therefore also concern itself with some of the latest developments in
how teachers meet the challenges of teaching language to those
learning languages or of teaching via languages other than their own
first language.

Papers that contribute to one of these themes are invited:
Initial applications and submissions should reach the organisers
before April 15, 2003, in the form of an abstract of about 500 words,
and when accepted, a first draft version should be submitted by
November 1, 2003, which will be anonymously reviewed and, if accepted,
pre-published by LAUD and distributed to all participants before April

Please state for which of the 4 sections of the symposium your
contribution is intended:

A. Sociolinguistic aspects: language and thought; 1st, 2nd and foreign
B. Sociopolitical frame: attitudes, language policies, linguistic
C. Pedagogical problems: status, literacy level, materials,
demotivating context
D. Didactic solutions: strategies, styles and methods in learning and
teaching, conscious learning, awareness raising in learners and

Please send an email version of your abstract to the attention of:

Martin Pütz
Puetz at uni-landau.de

with copies to

Holger Schmitt
schmitth at uni-landau.de
René Dirven
Rene.Dirven at pandora.be

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