CFP: Conceptualizing Multilingualism in England, 800-1250 (UK) (10/10/05; 7/14/06-7/17/06)

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Conceptualizing Multilingualism in England, 800 – 1250

A Worldwide Universities Network
Multilingualism in Medieval Societies Conference
The Third York Alcuin Conference

Centre for Medieval Studies – University of York - England
July 14 - 17 2006

Throughout the period 800-1250, English culture was marked by linguistic
contestation and pluralism: the consequence of migrations and conquests and
of the establishment and flourishing of the Christian religion centred on
Rome. In 855 the Danes ‘over-wintered’ for the first time, re-initiating
centuries of linguistic pluralism; by 1250 English had, overwhelmingly,
become the first language of England. Norse and French, the Celtic
languages of the borderlands, and Latin competed with dialects of English
for cultural precedence. Moreover, the diverse relations of each of these
languages to the written word complicated textual practices of government,
poetics, the recording of history, and liturgy. Geographical or societal
micro-languages interacted daily with the ‘official’ languages of the
Church, the State, and the Court. Moreover English and English speakers
played key roles in the linguistic history of medieval Europe. At the start
of our period of inquiry, Alcuin led the reform of Latin in the Carolingian
Empire, while in the period after the Conquest, the long-established use of
English as a written language encouraged the flourishing of French as a
written language.
This conference aims to conceptualise the multilingualism of Medieval
England. It invites papers on all of England’s languages and language
cultures but particularly seeks research that transcends individual
languages and specific texts to examine overarching structures of
linguistic pluralism. ‘Conceptualizing Multilingualism’ involves addressing
questions like: Is multilingualism individual? or cultural? How does
multilingualism map onto the divisions of social class, education and
political hierarchy? How do prestige languages and/or linguae francae
function in multilingual environments? What are its consequences for
literary culture and for the relationship between talk and text, between
langue and parole? What role does translation play in a multilingual
society? How does multilingualism impact upon modes of transmission in a
manuscript culture? England was not uniquely multilingual, but to what
extent was it distinctly so? Is multilingualism a medieval concept or a
construct of modern disciplinarity?

Speakers will include: Christopher Baswell (UCLA) – Stephen Baxter (KCL) –
Emma Campbell (Warwick) – Julia Crick (Exeter) – Thelma Fenster (Fordham) –
Andrew Galloway (Cornell) – Robert Hanning (Columbia) – Lars Mortensen
(Bergen) – Bruce O’Brien (Mary Washington University) – Andy Orchard
(Toronto) – Robert Stein (SUNY-Purchase) – Andrew Taylor (Ottawa) – Matthew
Townend (York) – Elaine Treharne (Leicester) – David Trotter (Aberystwyth)
– Elizabeth Tyler (York) – David Wallace (Penn) – Laura Wright (Cambridge)
– Roger Wright (Liverpool).

The conference will be based at the King’s Manor, at the centre of the city
of York, with accommodation available close by at the College of York St

Brief abstracts for papers (of 30 minutes) should be sent to: Dr Elizabeth
Tyler, Centre for Medieval Studies, The King’s Manor, York YO1 7EP, England
( by 10 October 2005. We invite proposals in all the areas
outlined above, but especially from historians, those working on literary
culture before the eleventh century, those working on Anglo-Celtic
exchanges, and those working on Old Norse. We intend to include
approximately six further speakers in the programme. Selected papers from
the conference will be published by Brepols in the York-based series
‘Studies in the Early Middle Ages’.

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Received on Thu Aug 25 2005 - 07:41:53 EDT

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