[lg policy] Linguist List Issue: Code-switching in Literature

Thu Feb 21 16:35:38 UTC 2013

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Message1: Code-switching in Literature
From:Daniel Weston daniel.weston at ntnu.no
LINGUIST List issue http://linguistlist.org/issues/24/24-914.html 

Full Title: Code-switching in Literature 

Date: 05-Jul-2013 - 05-Jul-2013
Location: London, United Kingdom 
Contact Person: Penelope Gardner-Chloros
Meeting Email: p.gardner-chloros at bbk.ac.uk
Web Site: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/events-calendar/code-switching-in-literature 

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Ling & Literature; Sociolinguistics 

Call Deadline: 15-Apr-2013 

Meeting Description:

Bilingual language mixing, or code-switching, has recently entered the public imagination through popular films such as 'Spanglish' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'.  This is gratifying for linguists, for whom this is a lively field of study (Gardner-Chloros 2009; Bullock & Toribio 2009). However, what is less widely studied in both academic and public arenas is the flourishing of code-switching in literature. The spread of English is one factor currently giving rise to this worldwide phenomenon, from Latino literature (Montes-Alcala 2012) to the Urban London speech of Zadie Smith's White Teeth, from Helen de Witt's The Last Sumarai to Mulk Raj Anan's Coolie. Elsewhere, from French-speaking Canada to the Caribbean, poets and writers are exploiting the creative possibilities of combining languages within the same works.  
This conference is a first step towards formalizing and theorizing a phenomenon which concerns both the study of linguistics and literature equally, and is represented in both burgeoning musical genres and the electronic media. There is now considerable interest in written code-switching generally, across a range of genres and text types (Sebba, Mahootian & Jonsson 2012). 'Translingual' writers, i.e. those who write in a language other than their mother-tongue (Kellman 2000; 2003) are also a focus of scholarly attention, as is bilingual creativity (Jarvis & Pavlenko 2007; Kharkhurin 2012). But although multilingual literature has been of significance for centuries (Forster 1970/2009; Schendl & Wright 2011), the specific study of code-switching in literature has been contingent on its study within linguistics and is only now taking off. Papers are expected to combine an interest in theoretical issues to do with the role of code-switching in literature with the description of !
 specific texts or writers. Anticipated output will take the form of an edited collection, which will be the subject of a preliminary discussion at the conference.

The following questions represent some of the possible issues to be addressed:
1. What types of multilingualism are found in literature?
2. What are the functions of CS within multilingual literature? How does CS vary between literary genres?
3. To what extent is CS in literature - in the narrative voice or in represented speech - comparable (in frequency and in type), with that found in spontaneous bilingual speech?
4. How and why does CS vary grammatically in literature? What can the variations be linked to?
5. Do the conversational functions of spontaneous CS (e.g. cohesion, preference organization, addressee specification, multi-voicing), have equivalents in literature?
6. What are the cognitive issues raised by CS in literature as opposed to spontaneous speech? Can the reader be compared with the interlocutor in spoken CS?
7. Is there a literary equivalent of 'unmarked' CS, i.e. a mixed genre which represents the norm of interaction for a community, or the reflex of a bilingual identity?
8. In what cases is the use of CS in literature a call for change in social attitudes, either towards language or other aspects of the society?
9. To what extent does CS in (a) texting and the electronic media and (b) in the lyrics of certain music styles (e.g. rap) have repercussions for literary usage?
10. What is the role of commercial imperatives in either encouraging or limiting the use of literary CS?

Plenary Speakers:
Penelope Gardner-Chloros and Daniel Weston: 'The Place of Code-switching in Literature'
Herbert Schendl (University of Vienna): 'Code-switching in Early English Literature'
Cecilia Montes-Alcala (Georgia Institute of Technology): 'Code-switching in US Latino Literature'

(Titles are provisional) 

Call for Papers:

Abstracts (250-300 words long) are invited for the 1-day interdisciplinary conference on 'Code-switching in Literature', to be held at Birkbeck, University of London on Friday 5 July 2013. There will be a maximum of 8 speakers (of which 3 plenaries) and 45 participants. Papers will be 20 minutes long (+ 10 minutes discussion). The deadline for submission is 15 April 2013 and abstracts should be sent by email to both the organisers below, in Word or pdf format. Potential speakers will be informed as to whether their abstracts have been accepted at the beginning of May.
Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros, Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, SSHP, Birkbeck University of London
p.gardner-chloros at bbk.ac.uk


Dr. Daniel Weston, Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
daniel.weston at ntnu.no

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