12-15 September 2012, Aston University, Birmingham
International conference hosted by Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Language and Diversity (InterLanD) and Institute for the Study of Language and Society (ISLS)
Prof. Joan Beal, University of Sheffield (UK)
Prof. Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University (USA)
Prof. Yaron Matras, University of Manchester (UK)
Regional varieties have become an important contributor to identity construction processes, and an increasingly important issue for the individual and the community in late Modernity: the individual is under constant and increasing pressure to define who s/he is and has to choose from an ever growing pool of possibilities to construct social identity in an increasingly globalized world, which is perceived as incromprehensively complex. By referring to what is seen as traditional regional language, dialect and culture, localizing oneself seems to be a viable way out of this dilemma. This should have stabilizing effects on lesser used varieties, which have been facing a gradual process of language shift and divergence towards dominant contact languages over the hundred years. Unfortunately, at the same time, modern life does not so much require knowledge of regional varieties as of standard languages and a good command of English as the global lingua franca. How can an upwardly mobile individual combine the requirements of modern life with identity construction on a regional scale if they so choose? What are the linguistic consequences for lesser used varieties and their respective contact languages?
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