"Sef/building in interlanguage: transatlantic views on multilingualism" (21-23 March 2013)

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University of Bordeaux 3, France

"Self/building in interlanguage : transatlantic views on multilingualism"

Interlanguage is both a space for transition and a frontier marking the difference between two territories which it separates while bringing them together in a relationship of exchange and interaction, and interlanguage plays a fundamental role in the dynamics that underpin the construction of identity. What some have called "language marshlands" (Coste 1989) were originally conceived as being an intermediary system between the source language and the target language, as a system which every language learner had to pass through during the process of language acquisition. In literature, from the 1980s onwards, the notion of interlingualism was applied to examples of linguistic hybridisation within the same syntactic unit with a view to highlighting the tension that arises and also the possibility of engendering a language that was "other" (Bruce-Novoa). The problematical role of interlanguage in the identity building process is therefore an invitation to rethink identity, far from essentialist confines and within a dynamic and evolving perspective wherein the constitutive instability of the concept is paradoxically transformed into a springboard towards a redefinition of the subject (Kramsch 2009).

The reflection that we would like to initiate is set within the wider framework of the questioning surrounding multilingualism both as an advantage and as a handicap in a subject's construction process. While it is true that plurilingualism was long disapproved by the scientific medical community which viewed this phenomenon simply as a source of diverse pathologies, or even of mental retardation, developments in thinking spread by globalisation and the accompanying new economic order now see this as a not inconsiderable added value in international exchanges.

Today, school plays an important role in this process. It is a special place for the construction of interlanguages. It is a place where the most diverse languages and cultures meet and it is also a field for observing what is at stake in psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic terms when languages and cultures have contact. The evolution of the notion of interlanguage towards that of "translanguage" (Creese and Blackledge, 2010) bears witness to the current currency of this notion.

One of the aims of this conference is to initiate a transatlantic dialogue by helping to foster exchanges between American and European specialists in these fields. Bringing together all these papers will therefore allow us to make a critical assessment of the linguistic policies carried out by the American government over the past twenty years and to reflect on the way potential challenges faced by Europe in the 21st century might be handled in the light of American experience.

We welcome papers which focus on a complementary examination of the two geographical zones but we would also encourage researchers from different cultural fields to add to the debate by contributing their specific knowledge in the fields of education, cultural studies and literature. A fuller version of the call for papers and a few bibliographic details are available on-line at these addresses: http://climas.u-bordeaux3.fr OR http://eee.aquitaine.cnrs.fr

A 250 word summary of your proposal with a short biography and bibliography should be sent to Françoise Bonnet, Stephanie Durrans and Moya Jones at the following address:


Deadline: 1 September 2012.

Papers given at the conference will be published after selection by a reading committee.