2nd Conference on Language Contact in the Circumpolar World

The 2nd Conference on Language Contact in the Circumpolar World has just been announced. It will have a special session on typology of linguistic areas and will be held from October 25–27, 2019 at the Institute of Linguistics RAS, Moscow, Russia.

The circumpolar world includes the Arctic as defined by AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program) with adjacent areas. This vast territory has a number of common features that set it apart from any other part of the world: extremely harsh climate conditions, low population density, large distances between speakers of different languages or even of the same language, seasonal migrations for hundreds of miles, prevalence of hunter-gatherers with absolutely no traditional farming, etc. While language contact has been a popular topic of linguistic research in the last couple of decades, there have been few studies that would concentrate on the circumpolar region and specifics of language contact in the area.

The ‘Language contact in the circumpolar world’ conference will bring together researchers studying language contact in the North, and discussions of any aspect of the topic are welcome. Of particular importance is the question of whether language contact in the circumpolar world is different from that of other areas, and if so, in which particular respects.

This is the second conference in this series, the first having taken place at the Institute of Linguistics in Moscow in October 2017 (see http://iling-ran.ru/main/conferences/2017_circumpolar for more details). The first conference collected several dozens of researchers working on a variety of topics, including linguistic history/prehistory in the north and the methods used to reconstruct it, structural phenomena in specific languages influenced by contact, language varieties formed by intense contacts (pidgins, argots, non-standard varieties of Russian, etc.), areal linguistics, sociolinguistic aspects of language contact and case studies of specific language ecologies, language shift and language attrition, etc. The exchange of ideas showed so fruitful that we have decided to make this conference regular, with bi-annual meetings.

Apart from the general session devoted exclusively to the North, this 2nd conference will feature a special session ‘Typology of linguistic areas’ whose aim is to discuss possible methodologies and successful attempts to generalize over linguistic areas in any part of the world. How can different linguistic areas be compared, in general and as regards peculiarities of the language contact? What are the ways of describing linguistic areas that would facilitate their subsequent comparison? How can language contact in one area, e.g. in the Arctic, be contrasted to language contact in other parts of the world? These are examples of the issues we would like to discuss at this special session.

We welcome abstracts both for this special session or for the general session. For the general session we invite abstracts on any topic pertaining to language contact in the circumpolar region, including but not limited to:

–       language change conditioned by language contact,
–       mixed languages,
–       linguistic areas or Sprachbund’s,
–       reconstructing the past through linguistic data,
–       patterns of traditional or modern multilingualism,
–       sociolinguistic details of modern or historic language contact,
–       northern varieties of larger languages that are not restricted to the region (e.g. dialects of Russian, Swedish, English, etc.),
–       cartography of language contact areas,
–       methodology of language contact studies which takes into account specific features of the region.

The deadline for abstract submission is June 1, 2019. Notifications of acceptance or non-acceptance will be sent via email by the end of June. Please submit an anonymous abstract of no more than 1 page (excluding references) by email to circumpolar.conference@iling-ran.ru; include a title, authors, and affiliations in your email; indicate whether your abstract is intended for the general session or the special session ‘Typology of linguistic areas’.

The conference is organized by a research group on Language Contact in the Circumpolar World at the Institute of Linguistics, see http://circumpolar.iling-ran.ru for more details.

Confirmed plenary speakers:
·      Janne Saarikivi (Helsinki, Findland) ‘Linguistic substrate and the linguistic history of the Arctic’
·      Elena Berezovich (Ekaterinburg, Russia) ‘Russian-Germanic language contacts at the White Sea: the new field data’
·      Hein van der Voort (Belém, Brazil) ‘Contexts of language contact: Amazonia and Arctic compared’
·      Beata Wagner-Nagy & Alexandre Arkhipov (Hamburg, Germany), TBA

Organizing committee:
Olesya Khanina & Andrej Kibrik (Chairs), Maria Amelina, Mira Bergelson, Valentin Gusev, Maria Egorova, Olga Kazakevich, Elena Klyachko, Yuri Koryakov, Daria Mordashova, Marina Raskladkina, Maria Sidorova, Natalia Stoynova, and Irina Khomchenkova

The working language of the conference is English; papers may also be presented in Russian with English slides.

2nd Conference on Language Contact in the Circumpolar World