The Institute of Linguistics is pleased to announce the conference “Linguistic Forum 2023. Language functioning in remote areas: The Arctic and beyond”, which will be held at the Institute on 26–28 October 2023.
The concept of remoteness (or inaccessibility) can be considered in geographical as well as infrastructural and administrative dimensions.
In the first case, one deals with natural geographically conditioned barriers (e.g., remoteness of the region or adverse weather conditions). This is especially relevant for the languages spoken in the tundra, jungle or mountainous regions.
In the second case, inaccessibility is created artificially, for instance, transport infrastructure may be poorly developed in the region, which makes it difficult to access individual settlements. Apart from that, there is an “administrative” inaccessibility: limited access to certain regions, reservations, state borders, etc. On the one hand, this becomes an obstacle to potential language contacts. On the other hand, this often complicates or makes impossible linguistic research in the region; as a result, the idiom remains understudied and its chances to obtain some official status decrease. Remoteness can also be determined by various social factors, such as nomadic way of life of the speakers, military conflicts in the region, etc.
During the conference, we are going to discuss extra- and intralinguistic processes that languages in hard-to-reach regions undergo, and try to answer, among others, the following questions: what is the level of vitality of languages in remote areas? Do such languages have a chance to change under the influence of languages with a larger number of speakers? Does inaccessibility affect the preservation of grammatical categories and structural properties of the languages? Do such languages have common features, and is it possible to build a specific typological profile for them?
In recent years, the Arctic region has often become a field for searching for such patterns (cf. the study of the typology of language contact in the North [Khanina et al. 2019] and the consequences of ancient contacts for the structure of the languages in North-Eastern Siberia [Vinyar et al. 2022], as well as recent attempts to describe individual linguistic phenomena taking into account the factor of geographical specificity [Sipőcz, Szeverényi 2022]). At the same time, the influence of socio-cultural and geographic factors on linguistic structure was discussed on the material of languages spoken far away from the Arctic. region (see the collection [De Busser, LaPolla (eds.) 2015]). The announced conference welcomes the expansion of the areal context, experts in languages of the Arctic and other remote (hardly accessible) areas are invited to participate.
We particularly encourage submissions relevant to the following topics:
- the sociolinguistic situation, the level of vitality of languages and dialects in remote areas;
- language contact in remote areas;
- specific grammatical features of languages and dialects in remote areas, if any can be found;
- the problem of describing idioms in terms of their accessibility for researchers (geographical, infrastructural, admitrative).
The conference programme will include three plenary talks and oral presentations by other conference participants (20 min. for presentation and 10 min. for discussion). It will be held in a hybrid format (offline participation and online participation via Zoom). The languages of the conference are English and Russian. Submissions are limited to one individual and one joint abstract per author.
- Anna Berge (University of Alaska Fairbanks) Language Contact and Survival in Remote and Urban Eskaleut Communities (abstract)
- Patience Epps (University of Texas at Austin) Isolated regions or interactive hotspots? Language contact paradoxes in remote areas of northwest Amazonia (abstract)
- Irina Samarina (IL RAS, HSE) Endangered languages of the Annamite Range and northern Vietnam (abstract)
This forum is a part of the series of linguistic forums. The topic of the 2019 Forum was the UN Year of Indigenous Languages. The 2020 Forum "Language and Artificial Intelligence" was devoted to interdisciplinary dialogue among researchers working at the interface of linguistics and computer science. The starting point of the 2021 Forum “Language policy and language preservation” was the UN International Decade of Indigenous languages. The choice of the 2022 Forum “Traditional speech forms and practices” was suggested by the fact that 2022 was announced as the Year of the Cultural Heritage of the peoples of Russia.