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HISON  June 2013

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Subject:

CfP: Conference in Cambridge - Merchants of Innovation. The languages of traders

From:

Stephan Elspaß <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Stephan Elspaß <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 3 Jun 2013 10:55:05 +0200

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines) , AimsandObjectives.pdf (73 lines)

Dear all,

Here is a CfP that will certainly be of interest for various HiSoN people.

Best,

Stephan




Call for papers

Merchants of Innovation. The languages of traders
St John's College, University of Cambridge, 7th-8th April 2014

Organisers: Esther-Miriam Wagner (T-S Genizah Research Unit, University of
Cambridge) and Bettina Beinhoff (Anglia Ruskin University)

Traders around the world are known to use particular spoken argots. This
arises out of a need to develop coded or secret language to disguise the
specialised knowledge employed in their trade, and also marks them out as a
separate social group. Similarly, the written language used in their
correspondence differs from that used in official, legal or private
writing. There appears to be a cross-linguistic tendency that merchant
writings tend to show more language mixing and code-switching, and they
also exhibit more dialectal forms than other text types.

This interdisciplinary conference will seek to place the languages used by
traders within a wider sociolinguistic context and examine in depth their
effect on standard varieties of a large number of different languages.
Questions to be answered include issues such as: which differences can be
observed in regard to official scribes registers? As Middle class 'low'
varieties show language change in the written medium before the language
changes in the 'higher' varieties, is this an anticipation of forms coming
from spoken language forms that take longer to infiltrate higher registers,
or are they influencing 'higher' language standards by setting linguistic
precedents? What sets traders' letters apart from private correspondence?
The conference will also address bilingualism, for example in the case of
Jewish Yiddish and Arabic speaking merchants, who chose to write Hebrew.
Similarly, semi-bilingualism will be discussed, where authors wrote in
languages they felt most comfortable in the knowledge that the choice of
language did not matter since different languages would be understood by
the reader. The reasons for code-switching and for using particular
languages will be explored. Finally, the writers themselves and their
social environment will be addressed. Who are the protagonists within the
traders' caste which set the standards? Which linguistic differences can be
observed in the language used within particularly tight mercantile groups
and those in a wider business network?

Please see the abstract for further information. Could anyone interested in
attending and presenting a paper please send an abstract to Esther-Miriam
Wagner ([log in to unmask]) by 31st July 2013.


--
Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner
Research Associate Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
College Research Associate St John's College
University of Cambridge



-- 
Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner
Research Associate Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
College Research Associate St John's College
University of Cambridge




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