Global Approaches to Multilingualism and Standardisation conference

On 16-18 April 2018, MEITS hosted the Global Approaches to Multilingualism and Standardisation conference which brought together researchers from all over the world to Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, in order to explore themes related to standard languages and linguistic standardisation.

The conference began with a session which revisited models of standardisation. This panel turned to linguistic contexts in Europe, Asia and the Americas to build on existing theories and to prepare the ground for a critical analysis of established models. Corsica and Catalonia featured prominently in the subsequent panel on education and norms, where the role of standards for assessment was also tackled in a presentation from a particularly multilingual perspective.

The second day comprised papers on language standardisation with regard to two main topics: authority and legitimacy, and endangerment and revitalisation. The presentations encompassed a broad range of languages and regions, including Breton, Bosnian, German, Innu, Irish, Italian, Jejueo, Wolof and Mayan languages. This diversity was a key aspect of the conference, which sought to shed light on areas of interest which have so far not received much attention in research on language standardisation. The comprehensive coverage of different situations gave rise to much discussion which benefited from an opportunity to compare and contrast a large number of languages around the globe. Fresh perspectives and new insights also emerged from the papers on the third day which respectively focused on new urban vernaculars of Arabic, creole, Ukrainian, sign language and languages in China.

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