Small languages, Big Ideas

Donnerstag 04. April 2019 — Freitag 05. April 2019 — Universität Zürich

Small languages, Big Ideas. The Smaller Germanic Languages from a Theoretical, General and Comparative Perspective

Prof. Dr. Elvira Glaser (Chair Germanic Philology), Dr. Chris De Wulf (Dutch Studies), Dr. des. Kevin Müller (Nordistic Studies) and Jonas Keller, MA (English Department)

Zürich offers a broad spectrum of Germanic philologies. Apart from English and German, Dutch and Scandinavian studies are each offered as individual study tracks, and, furthermore, Frisian, Luxemburgish, Afrikaans, and Germanic dialects and contact languages are part of the Comparative Germanic Linguistics study track.
What is the intrinsic value of these smaller languages and varieties, and their respective linguistics for the general and comparative linguistics field? In this congress, there will be introduced several linguistics disciplines as seen from different smaller Germanic languages and exchanged knowledge as well as opinions on the value of the study of these languages to linguistic theory.

The motivation stems from the fact that these well-established but sometimes lesser known philologies of smaller Germanic languages and dialects promise as much theoretical insight as those of bigger languages (such as English) or smaller, exotic languages (Pacific, Native American, etc.) that have not the same in-depth descriptive tradition as ‘local’ Germanic languages. This may not be a contested opinion necessarily, but it is however a good idea that well described and data-rich linguistics systems such as these are brought back into the focus of general linguistics and linguistic theory.

Six plenary talks will be held by experts on different Germanic languages who will focus on one or more languages, but who are also skilled in the study of several other overlapping philologies, hence stimulating discussion rather than parallel one-way knowledge transfer. 

Wannie Carstens (North-West University Potchefstroom),
Leonie Cornips (Maastricht University & Meertens Instituut Amsterdam),
Antje Dammel (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster),
Hans-Olav Enger (University of Oslo),
Jarich Hoekstra (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel),
Mark Louden (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Further presentations will be held in an open call session, for which young researchers are encouraged to apply.
The colloquium will end with a round table discussion amongst the plenary speakers and the young researchers.

Staff, students and all other interested parties are kindly invited.

Location: RAA-G-01, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich

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