Calls: Workshop on Multilingual Discourse Production

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Feb 1 22:35:25 UTC 2009

Workshop Multilingual Discourse Production

Full Title: Workshop Multilingual Discourse Production
Short Title: MDP

Date: 06-Nov-2009 - 07-Nov-2009
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Contact Person: Svenja Kranich
Meeting Email:
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics;

Call Deadline: 15-Apr-2009

Meeting Description:

The Collaborative Research Center on Multilingualism in Hamburg is organizing a
workshop on multilingual discourse production. Multilingual discourse
(such as translation) represents a specific type of language contact situation.

Consequences of this type of contact are manifold and may vary according to
socio-historical circumstances as well as the functional and structural
peculiarities of the linguistic systems involved. In the workshop we propose to
study the question under which conditions contact in translation and similar
discourse production types has a (lasting?) impact on the languages involved.

Call for Papers

Discourse production in multilingual contexts represents a specific type of
language contact situation. Translation may be seen as the prototypical type of
multilingual discourse production, other types would include parallel text
production in different languages (e.g. for web sites) or the production of
versions more loosely connected with the source text.

When divergent communicative norms and conventions come into contact in any of
these types of text production, one may find that such conventions transcend
established language boundaries, potentially leading to the emergence of new
genres. A case in point may be the so-called Corporate Philosophies in German,
which owe much of their existence to the impact of English role models. These
texts seem to represent hybrids in that they partly follow German communicative
preferences and partly a communicative style more typical of English texts (cf.
Böttger & Bührig 2003). If one looks back at the history of the European
languages, it becomes clear that to some extent all of them have taken over
textual conventions and/or structures from Latin, which may be related to the
numerous translations from Latin into the vernaculars, generally representing a
major part of early text production. For example, Koller (1998) has argued that
Latin-German translations have substantially shaped the development of written
German, in particular the literary language. Looking at English one finds, for
instance, that the possible contexts of accusative-cum-infinitive constructions
spread as a result of contact with Latin (cf. Fischer 1992, 1994). Another
example can be seen in innovations in late-medieval Swedish, such as the use of
new subordinating structures (cf. Höder 2008).

Consequences of contact are manifold and may vary according to socio-historical
circumstances as well as in relation to the functional and structural
peculiarities of the linguistic systems involved. Factors which may determine
the linguistic outcome of contact through translation could be:
- the quantitative basis (i.e. how many texts are translated from language A
into language B and the ratio between translated and non-translated texts in
language B)
- the prestige of the source vs. the target language (cf. Toury 1995,
Baker 1996)
- the degree of standardization of the target language
- the degree of establishment of the genre in the target culture
- the possibility of establishing clear form-function equivalences (which in
turn is related to the genetic proximity of the two languages)

In the workshop we wish to study in how far these and possibly other factors
influence the result of language contact through translation and similar
discourse production types. The central question is thus: Under which
does translatory activity have a (lasting) impact on the languages involved?
This question may be approached from different angles.
We thus highly welcome papers concerning any of the following issues:
- general properties of the process of multilingual discourse
production in view
of a potential impact of source language on target language
- general properties of the product of multilingual discourse production
(normalization vs. shining-through in translation)
- particular historical or current situations of contact between language pairs
through multilingual discourse production
- contrastive studies both of the shining-through of a particular source
language in different target languages as well as studies of translations from
different source languages into the same target language. Such contrastive
studies could help to clarify the kind of impact the factors suggested above
have on translation-induced variation and change.
- studies of the spread of translation-induced innovations into monolingually
produced texts in the target language culture

Papers dealing with any of these issues or other topics relevant to language
variation and change through translation and related types of multilingual
discourse production will be welcome. Papers will be allowed 30 minutes,
including 10 minutes for discussion. The deadline for abstract submission is
15th April 2009. Abstracts of 400-600 words in length should be sent to

For more details and references see the workshop website:

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list