"The First World War and the languages", a conference in Paris. (La Première Guerre mondiale et la langue : approches croisées).

Few months ago we spread an interesting CfP, which resulted now in an international symposium to be held in Paris on 12th and 13th June 2014. Organized by the Sorbonne University and the Center for historical Studies Sciences-Po, the conference gathers scholars from different research fields, granting so an interdisciplinary approach to the discussion. Historians, linguists and specialists on literature will focus on the development and the changes in the French language, as well as on the other related European languages during the Great War. Two central questions are at the center of the interest of the symposium. On the one hand the role played by the WWI in the history of the French language, starting from the assumption that the former deeply shaped this latter and questioning as a consequence the interconnection between war and language histories. On the other hand all this will enable the scholars to finally hold in due consideration the history of French languages during the 19th and 20th centuries, which was up to now mainly neglected.

Representing a fascinating and yet till unexplored laboratory for some of the central themes of the contemporary linguistic (just think about the beginning of the sociolinguistic on the background of essential reconfigurations even of the social relationships) and providing an enormous amount of materials (both oral and written witnesses), the Great War represents for the linguists a privileged research field. Besides the already discussed question about the argot of the trenches in France and in the other countries, the conference aims to open new horizons discussing many central topics, concerning for example the periodization of the language history and the demarcation line eventually represented by the WWI; or concerning the ways of speaking and the neologisms, the contacts and contaminations between different languages or the specialist vocabulary of the military or technical language of the war, and again the written language and the topic of education.

Considering all these aspects of the “linguistic phenomenon” during the Great War, the conference will disclose also its historical and cultural implications, promoting so the discussion among a wider public and increasing the contact and exchange between historians and linguists. The full program is available in French