Calls: Monolingual Multilingualism?

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu May 14 16:52:56 UTC 2009

Monolingual Multilingualism?

Date: 05-Oct-2009 - 06-Oct-2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact Person: Ulrike Vogl
Meeting Email:
Web Site:

Call Deadline: 08-Jun-2009

Meeting Description:

Monolingual Multilingualism? Standard Languages and Their Impact on
Policies and Practices in Europe: A Historical Perspective

One of the most fundamental changes to Europe's linguistic landscape during the
past five centuries was the emergence and consolidation of standard languages.
>>From the late Middle Ages onwards, an increasing economic, political and
cultural integration of Europe fostered the need for uniform written languages
which could be used across dialect boundaries. In the 16th and 17th centuries,
apart from practical reasons to use a common form of a certain vernacular
language there were also ideological reasons. There came a growing interest,
among writers, scientists and politicians, in shaping the vernacular language
according to the model of an 'ideal language'. This search for the 'ideal
language form' went hand in hand with the need for uniformity, for strict
language rules and for the strict adherence to these rules. Over the centuries,
the knowledge of such uniform, normed and codified languages ('standard
languages') became increasingly important for social mobility. In the 19th
century, standard languages additionally became closely linked to the emerging
nation-states and as a consequence, knowledge of the respective standard
language of a nation-state ('national language') became an important symbol of
political loyalty. All over Europe, the growing importance of standard
meant a fundamental change to the multilingual repertoires of the regions in

Aim of the workshop:
The workshop aims at highlighting common developments as well as differences
across Europe concerning the historical relationship between standard varieties
and 'other' varieties. It seeks to identify sets of extralinguistic factors
which favoured the rise in status of some languages while marginalizing others.
It focusses specifically on the rise of a standard language ideology which
postulates one language as the best variety for a certain language
community. It
is one main aim of this workshop to find out to what extent this standard
language ideology has influenced - and still influences - language policy and
language practices in Europe and in what way it contributes to a 'monolingual'
view on multilingualism. One question might be whether - and if so, to what
extent - standard language ideology constitutes an obstacle to European
individual and societal multilingualism.

Matthias Hüning, Ulrike Vogl (Freie Universität Berlin; DYLAN)

This workshop is organized within the framework of DYLAN (Language Dynamics
and Management of Diversity), an Integrated Project funded under Framework
Programme6 (FP6) of the European Union. DYLAN seeks to identify the conditions
under which Europe's linguistic diversity can be an asset for the
development of
knowledge and economy. The project embraces 18 research teams from different
universities in Europe. The organizers of this workshop constitute the research
team within the DYLAN project that focuses on historical aspects of

Call for Papers

We invite papers addressing the impact of emerging standard languages on
individual and societal multilingualism through European history.

The questions below might serve as guidelines for contributions to
this workshop:

- Which social, political, ideological or economic changes taking
place from the
Middle Ages onwards were relevant to the selection of one or more varieties as
'standard' (and the 'rejection' of others)? (e.g. demographic factors (for
example urbanization), protestant reformation movements, the founding of
non-clerical educational institutions (universities))?

- Is there evidence as to how the growing importance of standard
languages had a
bearing on multilingual practices?

- Are there examples, in European language history, of efforts to preserve
diversity in the face of the increasing hegemony of standard languages?

- How can the relationship between nation building and standard and other
varieties be characterized?

- What were the social implications of the emergence and spread of standard
language norms?

- To what extent were standard varieties presented/viewed as instruments of
economic promotion and as a key to innovation? To what extent was (individual)
multilingualism presented/viewed as instrument of economic promotion and as a
key to innovation?

- What is the role of standard languages in present-day debates on
multilingualism (e.g. in educational contexts)?

The workshop invites contributions

- which focus on one or more of these questions in relation to one specific
language area; or

- which compare different language areas with regard to one or more of these

Abstract Submission and Registration:
The abstract submission deadline is June 8th, 2009 (please send your
abstract to
Ulrike Vogl: There will be a 100 euro registration
fee which covers conference participation and meals.

Location of the Conference:
Freie Universität Berlin

We are planning to publish a thematic volume based on the contributions of the
workshop in the course of 2010. The participants of the workshop should bear in
mind that they will be invited to submit their written contributions by January
15th, 2010.
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