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The Language and Society course investigates language in its social setting. This includes the following broad themes, among others: the relationship between language and culture, language variation and change, convergence and divergence of dialects, societal and individual multilingualism, language planning and policies, linguistic diversity and language endangerment, language shift and loss, computer-mediated communication, discourse analysis, pragmalinguistics, intercultural communication, lexical semantics, corpus linguistics for sociolinguists, and others.
The idea behind the course is that within these broad themes, special sessions are dedicated every year to more specialized and focused topics that are capturing scholars’ attention at the current moment.
The final aim is to discuss and improve on the possible hypotheses, models or theories related to the explanation of the interaction between language processes and social variables as well as provide a context for internationalization of existing research themes and establishing and meeting with European and overseas research networks.
The topic of the seminar in 2019 is: Language Activism and the Role of Scholars.
Although many scholars have a deep concern for social issues, they may also experience a tension between the requirement for scientific rigor and the commitment to social action. We wish to bring together scholars from different areas of linguistics, linguistic anthropology, philosophy of language/linguistics, and other related fields, who are willing to consider the need for scholars’ engagement with the public and the communities they work in, and the impact scholarly work and activist scholars can have on society. Some of the potential range of topics we foresee discussing are language as a means of oppression and suppression of democratic rights; language prescriptivism, language policing, language shaming, hate speech, naming and labeling practices, and essentializing discourses about people and language; the politics of language planning (e.g. for minority and endangered languages, in multilingual contexts). We invite scholars to discuss their own field experiences and personal concerns or offer more theoretically informed elaborations related to the topic.
The program of the seminar is here.
The resulting volume, Language Activism: The Role of Scholars in Linguistic Reform and Social Change, is forthcoming (2022) with Cambridge University Press.