Institute of Linguistics RAS is organising the 2nd conference on language contact in the circumpolar world with a special session on typology of linguistic areas. The conference will be held on 25–27 October 2019 in 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. 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.
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
The working language of the conference is English; papers may also be presented in Russian with English slides.