Foundation for Endangered Languages
See http://academic.sun.ac.za/taalsentrum for practical details about the conference.
The Foundation for Endangered Languages: Ninth Conference Stellenbosch, South Africa, 18-20 November 2005
Today's world-maps, political and linguistic, were laid out through human population movements, some ancient but some of them very recent. In this year's conference we want to address the effects of these movements on language communities: how they dissolve communities, and change their status; how communities may re-form in foreign places, and the relations between incomers and the established populations, whichever has the upper hand; the impact of empires, deportation, mass immigration, population loss from emigration. Remembered migration histories may be relevant to the modern self-image of communities. Internal migration by dominant-language speakers into the territories of minorities may lead to the marginalization of others /in situ/; and minorities often decamp to the dominant centres under various pressures.
The UN has declared a second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The languages we talk about will be very varied, and likely to include the languages of communities all over the world. Some of them are spoken by indigenous communities, which have become a minority on their own original territory due to the immigration of a dominant majority group. This kind of marginalization is very common, and notable examples include the San languages in South Africa, the Ainu language in Japan and many pre-Hispanic languages in California. It plays a major role in the current civil disorder in Nepal. In some cases, endangered languages may have gone into their own world-wide diapora: such is the case of Plautdietsch, language of the Mennonites, who emigrated to many places (Siberia, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay), where often their language became marginalised.
Marginalization can, however, result from a variety of causes: a state policy of forced assimilation, military domination, religious conversion, the wish for social betterment, attendance at boarding schools, etc. We shall look at how both the State and communities can address the causes of marginalization, and of course its effects on the survival and development of languages.
Besides the international dimension, this year's location in South Africa will give members an opportunity to get acquainted with many of the local linguistic issues, among them the position of Khoe and San, the past and future of Afrikaans, but also the Makhuwa-speaking ex-slaves from Durban, the Phuthi speakers from Eastern Cape, and no doubt many others.
Issues that may arise include:
· Why are migration histories so treasured as sources of language identity?
· Do language-communities always (or ever) have better prospects of survival in their home territories than when transplanted?
· Can language-communities on their home ground and in diaspora give each other effective support?
· Can small language-communities create new identities in remote territories?
· Can new communities resulting from migration or deportation establish a new quasi-indigenous identity based on a shared language? · What is the value of cultural resources for maintenance of status and active language use within endangered language communities?
· Do technical media have a significant role in combatting or reinforcing marginalization?
· Is it possible to reconcile the recognition of official languages with respect for a much larger number of indigenous languages?
· Can minority and even endangered languages play an active role in a state's policy of multilingualism?
The University of Stellenbosch is in South Africa's Western Cape, close to Cape Town. It has had a Department of African Languages for more than half a century (http://academic.sun.ac.za/african_languages); it has a Department of General Linguistics (.../linguist/index_english.htm) and a Language Centre (.../taalsentrum/index_engframeset.htm).
Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. They may be submitted in two ways: by electronic submission, and alternatively on paper. Most simply, they should be written in English. Other languages may also be accepted by prior arrangement with the Conference Chair Nigel Crawhall crawhall(at)mweb.co.za> or FEL Chairman Nicholas Ostler nostler(at)chibcha.demon.co.uk
1) Electronic submission: Electronic submission (by 24 April 2005) should be as an attachment in Word, or simply as an email message to crawhall(at)mweb.co.za, with a copy to FEL(at)chibcha.demon.co.uk. Please fill in the subject domain as follows: FEL_Abstract
The e-mail should also contain, in the following format:
NAME : Names of the author(s)
2) Paper abstracts: Three copies should be sent (to arrive by 1 May 2005) to:
FEL IX Conference Admin Foundation for Endangered Languages 172 Bailbrook Lane Bath BA1 7AA United Kingdom
This should have a clear short title, but should not bear anything to identify the author(s).
On a separate sheet, enclosed in an envelope, please include the following information:
NAME : Names of the author(s)
(If possible, please also send an e-mail to Funmi Adeniyi FEL(at)chibcha.demon.co.uk informing her of the paper submission. This is in case the hard copy does not reach its destination in time. This e-mail should contain the information specified in the above section.)
Oral presentations will last twenty minutes each, with a further ten minutes for discussion. Plenary lectures will last forty-five minutes each. Authors will be expected to submit a written paper with the full version of the lecture for publication in the proceedings well in advance of the conference.
· Abstract arrival deadlines - 24 April 2005 (e-mail); 1 May 2005 (by post)