PLM2011 Satellite session: Discourse in Celtic (minority) languages

Conveners: Sabine Heinz, Katarzyna Jędrzejewska-Pyszczak and Karolina Rosiak (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)

Submissions should follow the general submission guidelines.

Issues of language death and revival have been the subject of growing interest to scholars worldwide in the light of the rapid decrease of language varieties, a process characteristic of the 20th and 21st centuries. The age of the “global village” and the integrity of cultures it calls for affects the contemporary linguistic landscape leading to marginalization, if not demise, of minority or local languages. Still, attempts are being made to revive the dying languages with a view to resisting globalization and manifesting a sense of endangered identity.

The Celtic Satellite Session focuses on different aspects of communication breakdown (understood here as the failure to successfully interact through the medium of the endangered language) that surface in discourse between native speakers and (neo-) speakers of Celtic languages in the 21st century. While attempting a sociolinguistic analysis of this multi-layered phenomenon, the panel’s objective is also to investigate the underlying mechanisms that disturb effective language contact between the two groups of language users.

The uneasy relationship of traditional speakers and neo-speakers of Celtic languages has been subject to much debate. MacCaluim (2007: 79) believes it to operate at two different levels: “The first of these is on the level of relatively superficial communication problems and the second consists of the deeper sociological differences which exist between the two groups in terms of matters such as identity and views”. Hornsby (2009) suggests the mismatch between expectations and actual linguistic ability as the source of much tension. Such disturbed linguistic interaction also seems psychologically motivated when, e.g. traditional speakers treat over-enthusiastic learners with suspicion and perceive them as “inauthentic”. Neo-speakers, on the other hand, often experience disappointment when confronted with native speakers unwilling to share the language.

Papers are invited on a wide range of topics relating to the Celtic languages in particular but presentations on other minority languages will also be considered. We particularly encourage contributions that discuss specific linguistic situations testifying to the process of miscommunication between speakers and learners of endangered languages. Paper proposals covering fields such as the semantics, morphology, lexicography and syntax, language planning and standardization, minority languages in the modern media, teaching and learning of the minority languages while contributing to the overall theme of this panel are also welcome.


Sample Bibliography

Ball, Martin J (ed.). 1993. The Celtic Languages. London: Routledge.

Bloch-Trojnar, Maria (ed.). 2009. Perspectives on Celtic languages. Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL.

Britain, David (ed.). 2007. Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coulthard, Malcolm. 1977. An introduction to discourse analysis. London: Longman.

Fishman, Joshua A. 1991. Reversing language shift: Theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Clevendon: Multilingual Matters.

Heinz, S. 2003. Welsh Dictionaries in the twentieth century: A critical analysis. München: Lincom Europa.

Heller, M. (ed.) 2006. Bilingualism: A societal approach. London: Palgrave.

Hornsby M. 2009. “The phenomenon of ‘new’ speakers - Breton and Gaelic perspectives.” In: Maria Bloch-Trojnar (ed.) Perspectives in Celtic Linguistics. Lublin Studies in Celtic Languages. Vol. 6. Lublin: Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II, 199-214.

Ivir, Vladimir and Damir Kalogjera (eds.). 1991. Languages in contact and contrast. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Jones, Mari C. 1998. Language obsolescence and revitalisation: Linguistic change in two sociolinguistically contrasting Welsh communities. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

MacAulay, Donald. [1992] 2008a. The Celtic languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MacCaluim, A. 2007. Reversing Language Shift: The Social Identity and Role of Scottish Gaelic Leaners. Belfast: Cló Ollscoil na Banríona.

Ó Néill, D. (ed.) 2005. Rebuilding the Celtic Languages: Reversing Language Shift in the Celtic Countries. Talybont: Y Lolfa.

Stephens, Meic. 1976. Linguistic minorities in Western Europe. Llandysul: Gomer Press.

Trudgill, Peter (ed.). 1978. Sociolinguistic patterns in British English. London: Arnold.