[Elsnet-list] CFP: FEL XIV: Carmarthen 13-15 Sept. 2010 - Reversing Language Shift

Nicholas Ostler nostler at chibcha.demon.co.uk
Fri Apr 9 23:38:27 CEST 2010

Foundation for Endangered Languages
Fourteenth Annual Conference in association with
University of Wales: Trinity Saint David

Call for Abstracts
Reversing Language Shift: How to Re-awaken a Language Tradition

University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen, Wales
13-15 September, 2010

Language revitalisation is now receiving greater attention from 
academics, language planners, politicians, institutions and 
organisations worldwide. A step further than documentation, language 
revitalisation, supported by active policy, offers the possibility of 
reversing a shift that threatens over half of the world’s languages

Many take language vitality to be symbolic of national and cultural 
identity. In the Celtic regions, in particular, governments are taking a 
leading role in the struggle to reverse language shift by various 
efforts including attempts to increase the number of speakers of the 
respective languages.

Wales provides a good vantage point from which to consider prospects for 
reversing language shift. It has experience in gauging levels of 
political support at local, national and international levels. Census 
figures show an increase in the number of users of Welsh, especially 
amongst the younger generation, which can be attributed, like the 
language revival in Estonia, to the education system. However, some 
academics doubt whether such increases in speaker numbers lead to 
increased language fluency and use. While efforts to achieve the Welsh 
Assembly’s goal of a “bilingual Wales” have led to demands for greater 
legislative powers and autonomy on linguistic issues, the constant net 
immigration into the traditional heartlands is steadily reducing the 
density of Welsh-speakers there.

Language revitalisation requires the collaboration of a wide range of 
expertise. Institutional, political, and local support all play crucial 
roles, along with educationists and language planners. But how can 
these, working together, have practical effects in the daily language 
usage of ordinary people, and how can they achieve the goal of slowing 
down language erosion and revitalising language tradition?

Abstracts are invited on all topics in language revitalisation and 
reversing language shift, such as the following:

•	The roles and influences of formal educational systems
•	The roles of political independence, campaigns for linguistic rights, 
and community attitudes
•	The role of different domains of language use: is there a ‘best 
practice’ in ordering their importance in language policy?
•	The roles of corpus planning, documentary linguistics, and 
technologies, especially the internet
•	Can there be a corpus standard without oppressive purism? If so, how 
else can a corpus standard be propagated?
•	Language change in/through revitalisation
•	Special problems in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural context
•	Whether strategies for reversing language shift in places like Wales 
can be applied where there are many minority languages
•	How to integrate monolingual immigrants into bilingual society

Other relevant issues might include these questions:

•	Is political independence crucial for ethnolinguistic vitality?
•	Are there useful links between the problem of reversing language shift 
where there is only a single minority language, and the problem where 
there is a host of small languages?
•	What role is there for technology in reversing language shift?
•	Are the benefits of bilingualism, cognitive and otherwise, still 
•	Is there an inescapable trend towards larger language units, and fewer 
•	If, as has been said, a shrinking language minority always lacks the 
will to stop shrinking, must attempts to save such a community focus on 
their will to save themselves?

Papers may focus on any endangered language situation in the world. The 
language of papers is English or Welsh. The content of all papers will 
be made accessible to those who lack Welsh.

Each presentation at the Conference will last twenty minutes, with a 
further ten minutes for discussion and questions and answers. Keynote 
lectures (by invitation only) will last forty-five minutes each.

Abstract submission:
An abstract of up to 500 words should be submitted before 30 April, 
2010. Abstracts received after this deadline will not be accepted.

The following information should also be provided on a separate page:
NAME(S): Names of the author(s)
TITLE: Title of the paper
INSTITUTION: Institutional affiliation, if any
E-MAIL: E-mail address of first author, if any
ADDRESS: Postal address of the first author
TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any
FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any.

Submit abstracts either by email or post:

1. E-mail
Please send your abstract (with the other necessary details) via e-mail 
to both of the following addresses:
      h.lewis at trinity-cm.ac.uk
nostler at chibcha.demon.co.uk
      with the subject of the e-mail stating:
“FEL Abstract: <last name of the author(s)>: <title of paper>”

2. Post
If you cannot submit by e-mail, please send your abstract and details on 
paper to the following address (to arrive by 30 April 2010):
FEL XIV Conference Administration
Foundation for Endangered Languages
172 Bailbrook Lane
Bath BA1 7AA
United Kingdom

The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence. Writers 
will be informed once their abstracts have been accepted and will be 
required to submit their full papers for publication in the Proceedings 
by August 1st, 2010, together with their registration fee (to be 
announced soon).

Important Dates
• Abstract arrival deadline: April 30, 2010
• Notification of acceptance of paper: May 31, 2010
• In case of acceptance, the full paper will be due by August 1st, 2010
It is a condition of speaking at the conference that authors will submit 
a hard copy of their paper by this deadline. (Further details on the 
format of text will be specified to the authors.)
• Conference dates: September 13-15, 2010

A language-relevant excursion is planned for the afternoon of 15 
September as well as cultural entertainment during the evenings of 13 
and 14 September. Carmarthen’s nearest airport is Cardiff, 110 Km away. 
If direct flights to Cardiff are unavailable, try Bristol (175 Km from 
Carmarthen) before any of the London airports.

The Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin - “Castle Merlin”) campus of University of 
Wales: Trinity Saint David is situated on the edge of a market town with 
a population of 13,500, most of them fluent Welsh-speakers. The town 
claims to be the oldest in Wales, with a mediaeval castle and a Roman 
amphitheatre. Carmarthen’s name under Roman rule was Moridunum Demetarum 
(“Sea Fort of Dyfed”, in British).

Trinity University College, Carmarthen and Saint David’s University 
College, Lampeter, are merging, a process to be completed by September 
2010. Trinity University College is famous in Wales for promotion of 
bilingualism and bilingual teaching, recognised by the Welsh Assembly 
Government as a key provider of Welsh-medium higher education.

Conference Chair:
Dr Hywel Glyn Lewis
Ysgol y Gymraeg ac Astudiaethau Dwyieithrwydd
Prifysgol Cymru: Y Drindod Dewi Sant, Caerfyrddin, Cymru
School of Welsh and Bilingualism Studies
University of Wales: Trinity Saint David
Carmarthen SA31 3EP
Wales, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1267-676680
e-mail: h.lewis at trinity-cm.ac.uk

The Foundation for Endangered Languages is a non-profit membership 
organisation, registered as Charity 1070616 in England and Wales, 
founded in 1996. Its objective is to support, enable and assist the 
documentation, protection and promotion of endangered languages all over 
the world. The Foundation awards small grants for projects. It also 
publishes a newsletter, OGMIOS. It has hosted a conference every years 
since 1996, most recently in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (2004), 
Stellenbosch, South Africa (2005), Mysore, India (2006), Kuala Lumpur, 
Malaysia, (2007), Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, Netherlands (2008) and 
Khorugh/Khorog, Tajikistan (2009). The FEL conferences bring together 
experts, scholars and enthusiasts from all over the world. The 
Proceedings of FEL conferences are available as published volumes. For 
further information visit:

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