«PROBLEMS AND METHODS OF HISTORY OF LANGUAGE»
THE CONSTRUCTION OF LANGUAGES: MYTHS, RULES AND EMOTIONS
25th, 26th and 27th de June 2013
University of Girona
Call for papers
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As historians of language, we believe that the subject of our study isn’t either natural languages nor idiolects which speakers have always been able to develop individually (more or less, what Chomsky called L-i), but the social constructions of reference shared by all speakers (more or less what L-e by Chomsky). In this context, the History of language basically has to study how a public L-e is built such that can be understood as the language of all –i.e., hiding L-i variations– and also how L-e succeed in replacing the primary reality of idiolects, even if only in the imagination.
Writing represents a crucial turning point in the construction of languages because it makes possible to materialize the abstraction that, until then, related speakers could only guess and besides it comes into competition with individual languages. Written language is a prototypical representation of reality; in turn, it becomes part of reality and can also modify this reality turning itself out as a genuine language: the oldest or the only legitimate language. Printing press –and all subsequent mass media–, since promotes the linguistical grouping of territories and the stability of reference models, lays the foundations for the imposition of such languages.
In the long term, such stability will contribute to believe in the antiquity of languages, will allow a hierarchy among vernacular speeches depending on distance to “the language” and this language will become the horizon of all prescription rules. Ultimately, prescriptive language will become subject to a process of mythologizing (antiquity, continuity, pureness, abundance, easiness, etc.) which will inevitably entails emotionally involved speakers.
In modern centuries, the provision of grammars, dictionaries and other learning tools and systematizing instruments strengthens the idea that, because of their normative character, languages can be learned through the study. Mythical stories encourage the achievement of prescriptive rules and lead to speakers to link emotions to their language. Therefore, the topics of reflection that we want to bring up in this ix Colloquium are:
1. Rules: What role has the prescriptive activity had in the construction, the imposition and the acquisition of each language? To what extent do rules have improved the access to a good use of language? To what extent, are rules the basis of linguistic identity? In what sense is linguistics or grammar always prescriptive? Can we say that reflection on a language is what it builds that language?
2. Myths: Through what does mythical story (or stories) have been built each European language? Are linguistic myths universal and steady? Have every culture and every age its myths? What is the meaning and the purpose of each linguistic myth?
3. Emotions: Why are there feelings behind languages? Does a constructed language awaken the same feelings than dialects? How far are similar the emotions regarding different languages? How do feelings affect linguistic attitudes and, therefore, the future of languages?
The Colloquium foresees some sessions for the papers of 20 minutes papers on any of the three topics mentioned. Contributors should submit a publishable 150 words abstract by 15th March to the address firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: title, author’s name, author’s institution or job, country, phone and e-mail. The languages accepted are any Romance language and English. The resolution of the Scientific Committee will be communicated to interested contributors no later than April 15th and contributors must register up to 15th May.
The text of selected papers must be submitted no later than the beginning of the Colloquium. The Organizing Committee will take charge of the expenses on the accommodation of the authors of the accepted papers.
Scientific Comittee: Francesc Feliu (Universitat de Girona), Joan Mascaró (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Josep M. Nadal (Universitat de Girona), Anne-Marie Chabrolle (Université de Lorraine), Rosanna Sornicola (Università di Napoli-Federico II), Jean Michel Eloy (Universitat de Picardie), Xavier Pla (University of Girona).
Organasing Comittee: Josep M. Nadal, Francesc Feliu, Joan Ferrer, Narcís Iglésias, Olga Fullana, Mercè Mitjavila, Natàlia Carbonell, Gemma Albiol, Blanca Palmada, Pep Serra (Universitat de Girona).
Observatoy of European and Mediterranean Languages-ODELLEUM
Institute of Catalan Language and Culture- ILCC
Pere Coromines Foundation
Generalitat de Catalunya: Economy and Knowledge Department (Catalan Government)
Department de Philology and Comunication (University of Girona)
Facultay of Arts (Universitay of Girona)
Institut Ramon Muntaner
Ministerio de Economía y Competividad (Spanish Goverment)
"Girona, Universtiy and Futur" Private Foundation