PLM2010 satellite session: Shifts and innovations in minority languages in the 21st century, with an emphasis on P- and Q-Celtic

Invited speaker: Ghil’ad Zuckermann (Professor of Linguistics of Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide): "STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE! Lessons from the Hebrew Revival for the resuscitation, maintenance and empowerment of minority languages" [PDF abstract]

The general theme of this panel is to investigate the effects modernity and globalisation are having on the vast majority of minority languages in the twenty-first century. Laponce considers that 'globalisation can cause weak and powerful languages to be in increasingly frequent contact. Weaker languages are thus increasingly at risk of being sidelined and lost' (source paper [PDF]). The papers in this panel will look at how such 'weaker' (or minority or endangered) languages, such as the majority of the Celtic languages, are being sidelined, investigate the processes behind such sidelining and analyse the outcomes of such processes. Papers are invited on a wide range of topics in this area, covering fields such as the semantics, phonology, syntax, lexicography and morphology of Celtic languages in detail. We particularly welcome papers that, while they may not concentrate on the mechanics of Celtic language shift and attrition per se, do document and discuss pertinent linguistic features in a wide range of theoretical areas, thus contributing to the overall theme of this panel.

Sociolinguistic analyses covering language attrition and revitalisation are also encouraged. Comparisons with non-Celtic languages, e.g. the Livonian language in Latvia, will aim to locate these issues in a broader context. This is also the goal of our invited speaker, Prof. Ghil’ad Zuckermann who will look at attempts to categorise and analyse language shift in a coherent and comprehensive sociolinguistic framework of language change in an increasingly globalising world. His paper Stop, Revive, Survive! Lessons from the Israeli (sic) Language to the Reclamation, Maintenance and Empowerment of Indigenous Languages and Cultures looks set to inform Celticists and others of the commonality of minority language issues.

Please submit your one-page proposals for this panel by the end of March 2010 to

Dr Michael Hornsby (
and Prof. Sabine Heinz (
Department of Celtic, School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań