Vital Voices: Endangered Languages & Multilingualism

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 27 14:03:17 UTC 2006

Conference Title: Vital Voices: Endangered Languages & Multilingualism

Date: 25-Oct-2006 - 27-Oct-2006
Location: Mysore, Karnataka, India
Contact Person: Mahendra Verma
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:,

Call Deadline: 18-Apr-2006

Meeting Description:

The Foundation for Endangered Languages: Tenth Conference in association
with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, India. 25-27
October 2006. This year's conference concerns the effects of
multilingualism on smaller languages.

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

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

- 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

'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


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 or FEL Chair Nicholas Ostler>

1) Electronic submission: Electronic submission (by 18 April 2006) should
be as an attachment in Word, or simply as an email message to, with copies to> and Please fill in the subject domain as


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
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
- Conference - 25-27 October 2006

Foundation for Endangered Languages
Registered Charity: England and Wales 1070616
172 Bailbrook Lane, Bath BA1 7AA, England

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