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14th International Conference on Minority Languages 11-14 September 2013, Graz, Austria

Conference theme: Dominated Languages in the 21st Century Although linguistic plurality and its socio-political stratification or outline in dominant and dominated languages is subject to constant and accelerating change due to global migration, the general perception of minorities - at least in Europe - is still based on strangely romantic folkloristic notions of the 19th century, namely as rural, conservative, immobile relics of another (archaic) culture with another language. This admittedly pointed definition, which implicitly also reflects the European nation state ideology, negates all socio-political and socio-cultural developments of the last decades. At least some aspects of this definition – first and foremost the "otherness", but when it comes to so-called indigenous minority languages also all other aspects of the definition – still dominate the public discourse on minorities and minority languages. This discourse of otherness in contrast to the established and postulated normality of the majority always insinuates a sense of inferiority of minority groups and languages.

Two facts probably do not need to be stressed: Firstly, academic research on dominated languages is not independent and unaffected by general, stereotypical notions and current public discourse. Secondly, differences in status between languages and the thus resulting differentiation between majority and minority languages, or rather dominant and dominated languages, in the 21st century cannot be treated according to specifications of the 19th century. While European minority
rights still remain rooted in the tradition outlined above, it is and was the duty of minority language research based on social sciences to primarily follow current developments. The upcoming conference aims to bring the latter aspect, which is also reflected in the history of the ICML, to the foreground and to address some relevant aspects against the background of the ideal of a pluralistic society:

  • Changes in the linguistic landscape of Europe as a consequence of migration
  • The relationship between indigenous and migrant minority languages
  • Role and status of minority languages in pluralistic societies
  • Dominated languages and the relevance of ICT (Information Communication Technology)
  • Majority languages in a minority position

While ICML XIV in Graz will continue the tradition of ICML to discuss these questions with respect to minority languages of Europe, this conference also sets out to expand the scenery of ICML and therefore especially invites proposals concerning the study of minority languages in other parts of the world.

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