[lg policy] Calls: Pluricentric Languages: Linguistic Variation and Sociocognitive Dimensions

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 3 14:47:32 UTC 2010

Pluricentric Languages: Linguistic Variation and Sociocognitive Dimensions
Short Title: Plurilang

Date: 15-Sep-2010 - 17-Sep-2010
Location: Braga, Portugal
Contact Person: Augusto Soares da Silva
Meeting Email: plurilang2010gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.plurilang2010.org

Call Deadline: 31-May-2010

Meeting Description:

International Conference on Pluricentric Languages:
Linguistic Variation and Sociocognitive Dimensions
September 15-17, 2010
Catholic University of Portugal
Braga, Portugal


The conference aims to explore the sociocultural, conceptual and structural
dimensions of variation and change within pluricentric languages, with
specific emphasis on the relationship between national varieties. It brings
together the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm, Sociolinguistics tradition and
other usage-based, cognitively and socially oriented approaches to
language variation and change.


1. Early registration fee - until July 31
General: 130 Euros
Graduate students: 50 Euros
Undergraduates: 25 Euros

2. Late registration fee - between August 1 and September 15
General: 160 Euros
Graduate students: 80 Euros
Undergraduates: 25 Euros

Final Call for Papers

Extended Deadline: May 31, 2010

Plenary Speakers:
Peter Auer (University of Freiburg)
Enrique Bernardez (Complutense University of Madrid)
Ataliba Teixeira de Castilho (University of Sao Paulo)
Dirk Geeraerts (University of Leuven)
Gitte Kristiansen (Complutense University of Madrid)
Georges Ludi (University of Basel)
Edgar W. Schneider (University of Regensburg)

Aim and Scope:
The "one-nation-one-language" assumption is as unrealistic as the well-
known Chomskyan ideal of a homogeneous speech community. Linguistic
pluricentricity is a common and widespread phenomenon. For example,
English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili,
Chinese, etc. are all pluricentric languages in the sense that they have
different national varieties, each with its own cultivated, standard register.
However, language pluricentricity and monocentricity are gradient rather
than separate categories: there are languages that are more pluricentric
than others. Moreover, some forms of pluricentricity are approximately
symmetric while others (the majority) are asymmetrical. Indeed, all
languages are "pluricentric" to some degree, to the extent that they exhibit
internal dialectal variation and differing local norms. Pluricentricity is
therefore a special case of language-internal variation, marked by questions
of national identity and power.

Almost two decades ago, Michael Clyne edited the seminal collective
volume Pluricentric Languages (1992), gathering comparative data
concerning a representative selection of pluricentric languages throughout
the world. Since then, the basis for the discussion of national varieties has
shifted from a "deviation from the center" model to a "several interacting
centers", or pluricentric, one and the relationship between national varieties
has been studied in terms of a dynamic and interactive process. Recently a
new and highly stimulating opportunity has been offered by Cognitive
Sociolinguistics, an emerging extension of Cognitive Linguistics as a usage-
based and recontextualizing approach to language and cognition,
institutionalized in the collective volume Cognitive Sociolinguistics (2008),
edited by Gitte Kristiansen and Rene Dirven.

Cognitive Sociolinguistics examines the social, cultural and conceptual
meaningfulness of language-internal variation, including the internal
structure of (and interaction between) whole varieties and styles, and
explores the relationship between lectal variation and cognition.
Methodologically, it uses advanced corpus-based quantitative methods,
while benefiting theoretically from key concepts from Cognitive Linguistics
(such as prototypicality, metaphor, metonymy, embodiment, framing,
perspectivization, profiling, reference point construction, subjectification,
cultural cognitive models etc.) in dealing with lectal varieties as socio-
cognitive entities.

This conference aims to explore the sociocultural, conceptual and structural
dimensions of variation and change within pluricentric languages, with
specific emphasis on the relationship between national varieties. It brings
together the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm, Sociolinguistics tradition and
other usage-based, cognitively and socially oriented approaches to
language variation and change.

Within this socio-cognitive and interdisciplinary context of research into
linguistic pluricentricity and other expressions of language-internal
papers are invited on the following themes and topics.

1. Language-internal and cross-national variation, culture and cognition
- Formation of national varieties: When is a national variety codified and
why? What conditions can promote a more or less symmetrical
- Cooperation, competition and conflict between national varieties: What are
the interconnections between national identity, power relationships and
national varieties? Can pluricentric languages be both unifiers and dividers
of people and to what extent? How symmetrical can pluricentricity be in an
unequally distributed world?
- Collective pluricentric language planning and policy: bi- or multilateral
language planning and policies, spelling reforms, educational programmes,
the influence of television, etc.
- Pluricentricity and globalization: What are the effects of current processes
of globalization on the relationships between national varieties? What is the
impact of the global pressure of English on pluricentricity?
- National variation, culture and cognition: Do national linguistic differences
reflect cultural differences? To what extent do the former correlate with
conceptual differences? How does national variation affect linguistic
meaning and linguistic categorization? How does language-internal and
cross-national variation reveal the situated and social nature of cognition?

2. Structural patterns of national variation and corpus-based approaches
- Indicators of (sub)standardization and pluricentricity: Convergence and
divergence between national varieties and internal stratification of national
- Correlations between variables: To what extent do lexical, grammatical
and phonological variables correlate when it comes to the
convergence/divergence and stratification of national varieties? Do social
identities (national, regional, local) operate as independent variables? To
what extent do socio-stylistic factors correlate with semantic, grammatical
and discursive factors?
- National and local varieties, styles and registers as prototype-based and
radial categories of meaning: How do national/local variation and semantic
variation correlate? How do prototypicality, stereotypicality and semantic
normativity combine and intertwine between and within national varieties?
- National varieties, linguistic system and linguistic change: What are the
linguistic consequences of contact between national varieties? What is the
impact of pluricentricity on language change?
- Corpus-based multivariate and quantitative models of language-internal
variation: What methods, tools and techniques (analytical and descriptive)
are needed to arrive at an adequate description of national variation? How
can we measure diachronic convergence and divergence between national
varieties and synchronic internal stratification of national varieties?

3. Cognitive cultural models of national language variation
- Perception and evaluation of national varieties: How do language users
perceive national varieties and how do they evaluate them attitudinally?
What cultural and cognitive models are at work in the categorization and
evaluation of local and national linguistic differences? What is the role of
ideology in cognitive representations of national variations?
- National variation and language attitudes: How are purist or pro-
independence attitudes manifested and what are the consequences for the
development of national varieties? How do language attitudes differ in the
various centers of a pluricentric language, particularly of the dominating and
non-dominating varieties?
- Objective and subjective linguistic distances: Is there a correlation
between objective linguistic distances, perceived distances, and language
To what extent do language attitudes as they can be objectively measured
correlate with actual language behavior as observed in corpora?
- Mutual intelligibility between national varieties: to what extent do
linguistic distances and language attitudes influence intelligibility?
- National cultural models and national language variation: How do these
interact? Does language variation follow from cultural models, merely reflect
them or actually determine them?
- Cultural models of national variation and their consequences for language
planning and language policy.

Submission of Abstracts:
Submissions are solicited for presentations which should last for 20 minutes
with 10 minutes for questions (maximum 30 minutes total). All submissions
for presentations should follow the following abstract guidelines:

- Conference languages are English (preferably), Portuguese, Spanish and
- The extended deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2010.
- The abstract, edited in Word or RTF (or PDF, in case it contains special
symbols), should be sent to the following address:
- Abstracts should not exceed 500 words (exclusive of references) and
should state research questions, approach, method, data and (expected)
results. Abstracts will be reviewed anonymously.
- Please do not mention the author's name, institution or address in the
- The subject header of your email should include: Abstract Plurilang2010 -
- Please include the following information in the main body of your email: (1)
name of author/s, (2) affiliation, (3) paper title, (4) email address,
(5) postal

Notification of acceptance/rejection will be given by June 15, 2010.

Organizing Committee

Augusto Soares da Silva (Chair), Amadeu Torres, Joana Jacinto, Miguel
Gonçalves, Pedro Pulquerio, Jose Antonio Alves.


E-mail: plurilang2010gmail.com

PH: +351 253208075 (Jose Antonio Alves), +351 253206100
Fax: +351 253208073

Congresso Internacional Linguas Pluricentricas
a/c Augusto Soares da Silva
Universidade Catolica Portuguesa
Faculdade de Filosofia
Largo da Faculdade, 1
P-4710-297 Braga

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