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Conference Information



Full Title: The Sociolinguistics of Urban Language Life

      
Short Title: GloSoc II
Location: Venice, Italy
Start Date: 15-Nov-2017 - 17-Nov-2017
Contact: Patrick Heinrich
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://globalisingsociolinguistics.com
Meeting Description: In the Globalising Sociolinguistics symposia the problem of applicability, and beyond that of the expansion of sociolinguistic theory and methodology, is at the centre of attention. In this second edition, we will tackle this issue by focusing on the sociolinguistics of urban language life.

Mainstream sociolinguistic theories, which are supposed to cover a broad range of language settings in the world, often exhibit an Anglo-Western cultural bias. This bias is due to the relatively high degree of sociolinguistic activity in the Inner Circle and Europe. It is a widely acknowledged bias, but we also know that it is difficult to challenge. In the Globalising Sociolinguistics symposia the problem of applicability, and beyond that of the expansion of sociolinguistic theory and methodology, is at the centre of attention. In this second edition, we will tackle this issue by focusing on the sociolinguistics of urban language life.

The complexity of the city provides a fertile testing ground for how sociolinguistic theory fares in a present-day context. City people come into daily contact with strangers having different belief systems, behavioural norms, day-to-day rituals and linguistic practices, and they must somehow learn to get along for the city to function ecologically. Non-mobile monolinguals, who stay their entire life in their provincial home society, are becoming increasingly atypical cases. Instead, the urbanite multilingual, who functionally ''plays'' with language and uses it as a commodity, most of the time outside the original environment of that language, can now be considered the norm rather than the exception. Cities are not filled with an anonymous population but with concrete actors, struggling to achieve things they deem relevant while seeking a self-identification they perceive to be rewarding. Language plays an important role in these activities. The language of these individuals should be approached as a set of patterned activities by concrete speakers and listeners, with interactants applying distinct repertoires and having volatile mutual relations. All this influences how city people communicate with each other, and this, in turn, affects language structures and repertoires.

City people come into daily contact with strangers having different belief systems, behavioural norms, day-to-day rituals and linguistic practices, and they must somehow learn to get along for the city to function ecologically. Non-mobile monolinguals, who stay their entire life in their provincial home society, are becoming increasingly atypical cases. Instead, the urbanite multilingual, who functionally “plays” with language and uses it as a commodity, most of the time outside the original environment of that language, can now be considered the norm rather than the exception. Cities are not filled with an anonymous population but with concrete actors, struggling to achieve things they deem relevant while seeking a self-identification they perceive to be rewarding. All this influences how city people communicate with each other, and this affects language structures and repertoires.
Linguistic Subfield: Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 27.1604


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