Strategies of Language Variatio n: Transcultural Perspectives

Within the Cooperation Network Sociolinguistic Forum

Abstract In the course of the discovery of a genuinely semiotic and thus communicative dimension of hetero-geneity / variation in natural languages, as well as upon dealing with this dazzlingly complex phe-nomenon from the point of view of scientific evolution, sociolinguistics has, starting with the last quarter of the 20th century, reached its third distinctive stage of development. Theoretical approaches to the phenomenon from the perspective of interactional / (social) construc-tivist sociolinguistics (such as the contextualization or speaker- design paradigm, but also modern so-ciolinguistic researchon style) have become continuously more differentiating and increasingly elab-orate. At the same time, their focus is traditionally on conceptually spoken present-day communica-tion (including written orality in digital media). Conceptually written textsconstitute - except for a few, rather minor contributions - still white spots on the map of the corresponding subject area. Similarly, the historical dimension remains vastly underexplored. For this reason, the proposed meeting specifically addresses issues resulting from taking up a current sociolinguistic perspective on the phenomena of variation / heterogeneity in conceptually writtenlanguage in historical texts. Contributions to the meeting discuss texts from a wide range of historical periods, treating a broad array of languages from all around the world. The overall objective of the conference is to explore the application of modern sociolinguistic theory building to conceptually written language across time and space, and thus to advance and potentiate linkages between the fields of sociolinguistics and classical philology. To this end, the papers from the various philological disciplines featured at this meeting will not dis-cuss the phenomenon of language variation (as used by authors and as reflecting considerations e.g. of audience, addressee or socioculture) under any a priori assumptions and knowledge regarding the treated language(s). Rather, participants of the conference are called on to base their discussion of variation and heterogeneity in their data on a model and theory geared towards an audience of syn-chronic and diachronic sociolinguists at large. The goal is to identify structures and usage strategies relating to socio-cultural, socio-historical, and general language-related conditions under a cross-linguisticprerogative. The papers shall thus not be limited to a pure description of the phenomena of variation and heterogeneity as encountered in their texts, but will provide an analysis according to the above-mentioned research approach that is to stimulate a comparative discussion.


24th–25th April 2015

Apostelgasse 23, A-1030 Vienna