[lg policy] call: Urban Language Conflict

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 11 15:47:35 UTC 2012

Urban Language Conflict

Date: 22-Aug-2012 - 24-Aug-2012
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact Person: Jeroen Darquennes
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 31-Jan-2012

Meeting Description:

Thematic session: Urban Language Conflict
Jeroen Darquennes (Namur) & Diarmait MacGiolla Chríost (Cardiff)

Due to an increase of in-migration since the second half of the 20th
century especially bigger cities in Europe (and elsewhere) have become
true laboratories of language contact. Typical for language contact
settings is that the differences in social status and power as they
exist between the groups that use the different languages are
reflected in the status and the prestige as well as in the degree of
institutionalisation and legitimisation of these languages (cf.
Nelde/Strubell/Williams 1996). As a result, language in language
contact settings often develops into a significant symbol of social
conflict even when it may not be the direct cause of that conflict
(direct causes being of a political, social, religious, etc. nature).

Especially during the 1960s and 1970s many simmering conflicts in
bi/multilingual settings came to the surface (e.g. in Brussels,
Québec, etc.) and illustrated the specific role of language in
(neutralising) social conflict. It would, however, be a
misunderstanding to assume that language conflict is a phenomenon
linked to a period in history that was coloured by a so-called 'ethnic
revival'. Language conflict (whether it is latent or manifest) is of
all time (cf. Nelde 1989a&b). In present-day society (and most
certainly in urban settings that are increasingly characterised by
what some refer to as 'hyperdiversity') language conflict even is more
or less pre-programmed if only because of the interplay between
processes of globalisation, nationalisation, regionalisation and
urbanisation, the role of languages in these processes and the
emergence of multiple (linguistic) identities challenging group
membership (cf. Nelde 2006: 2427-2428).

In spite of the (manifest or latent) existence of language conflict in
(contemporary) society, its systematic study within the language
sciences (or the social sciences at large) is still underdeveloped.
Only a few scholars have taken up the challenge to try and advance the
study of language conflict at group level as it mainly emerged in the
1970s and 1980s (e.g. MacGiolla Chríost 2003, Rindler Schjerve 2007,

Call for Papers:

With our thematic session that focuses on urban settings in Europe and
beyond, we intend to contribute to the further systematic development
of 'conflict linguistics' by inviting experts to provide answers to
one (or more) of the following questions:

- What kind of input is needed to further develop existing theories of
language conflict? What are the major cornerstones of a theory of
language conflict?
- What is the most suitable way to empirically study language conflict
in urban settings from a synchronic (or diachronic) point of view?
- How does language conflict in urban settings emerge? What types of
language conflict can be identified?
- How does / can language policy and planning contribute to the
avoidance and/or neutralisation of language conflict in urban

Abstracts have to be submitted via the conference website:



Darquennes, Jeroen/Nelde, Peter H./Weber, Peter J. (Eds.) (2005):
Recent approaches in conflict linguistics (Plurilingua XXV). St.
Augustin: Asgard.
Darquennes, Jeroen (2010): Language contact and language conflict in
autochthonous language minority settings in the EU. In: Multilingua
29, 3/4, 337-351.
MacGiolla Chríost, Diarmait (2003): Language, identity and conflict.
London: Routledge.
Nelde, Peter Hans (Ed.) (1989a): Urban Language Conflict (Plurilingua
VII). Bonn: Dümmler.
Nelde, Peter Hans (Ed.) (1989b): Historische Sprachkonflikte
(Plurilingua VIII). Bonn: Dümmler.
Nelde, Peter Hans (2006): La linguistique de contact, la recherche sur
le conflit linguistique et l'aménagement linguistique au Xxe siècle.
In: Auroux, Sylvain et al. (Eds.): History of the Language Sciences.
Berlin: de Gruyter, 2413-2429.
Nelde, Peter Hans/Strubell, Miquel/ Williams, Glyn (1996): Euromosaic
I. Luxembourg: Office for official publications of the European
Rindler Schjerve, Rosita (2007): Language conflict revisited. In:
Darquennes, Jeroen (Ed.): Contact linguistics and language minorities
(Plurilingua XXX). Asgard: St. Augustin, 37-50.


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