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CALL. 01.10.2016: Approaches to dialectal variation from antiquity up to modern times (ICHoLS XIV) -






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Although there are plenty of overviews of the history of the language sciences, they generally do not dedicate extensive attention (if at all) to ideas about dialectal variation. What is more, there are thus far no accounts systematically treating approaches to dialectal diversity throughout history. This is not to say, however, that there are no works dealing with specific episodes of this variegated subfield of the history of the language sciences, far from it—see, e.g., the important contributions by

Ø Morpurgo Davies (1987) for Greek antiquity,

Ø Adams (2007: esp. 114-275) for Latin antiquity and the early Middle Ages,

Ø Von Moos (2008) for the later Middle Ages,

Ø Alinei (1981) for the Italian Renaissance,

Ø Eskhult (2015: esp. 86-87) for an eighteenth-century case study, and

Ø Pop (1950) for a large part of the modern period.

The thematic workshop aims at (1) continuing the exploration of this domain in a more comprehensive and systematic manner and (2) inciting a closer dialogue and a more in-depth discussion about this topic. It intends to do so by means of a series of papers on the diverse historical approaches to the phenomenon of dialectal diversity from antiquity up to modern times, both in Western and other traditions. Although it obviously does not lie within the workshop’s scope to cover the issue in its entirety, it nevertheless hopes to bring together scholars with different backgrounds and working on different periods and languages in order to gain a better insight into the matter. Papers on the following three themes are welcomed:

(1) history of approaches toward specific dialect contexts (in Europe and beyond);

(2) history of the concept of dialect (and related or comparable concepts);[1]

(3) history of dialectology as an institutionalized subdiscipline of linguistics.

These three axes will structure the schedule of the workshop as well. Please specify in your proposal which theme you are mainly focusing on. Papers are 30 minutes (20 minutes for presentation + 10 minutes for discussion). The number of slots is subject to change, depending on the number of papers received and accepted.

1 The related or comparable concepts mentioned may be taken from Western (e.g., patois, dialect levelling, koineization) as well as non-Western (e.g., vibhāṣā in Indian linguistic thought; Pinault 1989: 351) traditions.


Adams, James Noel. 2007. The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC–AD 600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alinei, Mario. 1981. “Dialetto: un concetto rinascimentale fiorentino. Storia e analisi.” Quaderni di Semantica 2: 147–73.

Eskhult, Josef. 2015. “Albert Schultens (1686–1750) and Primeval Language: The crisis of a tradition and the turning point of a discourse.” In Metasprachliche Reflexion und Diskontinuität. Wendepunkte – Krisenzeiten – Umbrüche, edited by Gerda Haßler, 72–94. Münster: Nodus.

Morpurgo Davies, Anna. 1987. “The Greek Notion of Dialect.” Verbum 10: 7–28.

Pinault, Georges-Jean. 1989. “La tradition indienne. Section 3. Pāṇini et l’enseignement grammatical.” In Histoire des idées linguistiques, edited by Sylvain Auroux, 1 [= La naissance des métalangages en Orient et en Occident]:331–53. Philosophie et langage. Liège & Bruxelles: Pierre Mardaga.

Pop, Sever. 1950. La dialectologie. Aperçu historique et méthodes d’enquêtes linguistiques. 2 vols. Louvain: Bureaux du Recueil.

von Moos, Peter, ed. 2008. Zwischen Babel und Pfingsten. Sprachdifferenzen und Gesprächsverständigung in der Vormoderne (8. - 16. Jahrhundert) | Entre Babel et Pentecôte. Différences linguistiques et communication orale avant la modernité (VIIIe-XVIe siècle). Zürich & Berlin: LIT.

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