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Language, Space and geography

Wann 26.11.2009 um 09:00 bis
28.11.2009 um 18:00
Wo Wilhelmstr. 26, Raum 01014
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Workshop III: Language, Space and geography
Dates: 26-28.11.
Organisors: Peter Auer/Benedikt Szmrecsanyi

26. - 28.11.: Sitzungssaal (01014), Wilhelmstr. 26


Thematic foci

Space is, in fact, a three-dimensional notion, which can only be experienced by a human being from her origo.Space is arguably personal, it can be physically experienced, it develops and changes incrementally with movement, and it is in this sense concrete. Space can be reduced, however, to lower-dimensional maps, which tend to be abstract in that they more often than not do not depend on the origo of a speaker for interpretation. Since the beginnings of modern dialect geography at the latest, the latter take on space has been dominant in linguistics. What geolinguists typically do is to map speakers (or rather, languages or language varieties) to geography, with the aim to construe language (or dialect) spaces via cartographic techniques, and to explain linguistic variability as wither a function of geographic distance, or in terms of geographically coherent language/dialect areas. As a consequence, variation in space has become privileged over other types of variation.
Against the backdrop of this tradition, the goal of this workshop is to discuss the following issues:
-    What is geographic space, and how can it be linked to language (if at all)?
-    What can be achieved through cartographic visualizations, and what not?
-    To what extent is geographic distance, as a determinant of linguistic variability, real?
-    How is 'location' used as a topic in interaction, and how are language spaces construed in interaction (and in the media)?
-    How are public spaces construed through writing?
-    How do spaces become associated with political units such as nation states.

In addition to linguists, the meeting will also feature geographers and sociologists.


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