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Abstracts Overview

Thomas Paul Bonfiglio : The Invention of the Native Speaker
To employ the designations “native speaker” and “native language” unreflectively is to engage in a gesture of othering that operates on an axis of empowerment and disempow-erment. The person born into the matrix of nation and language can often invoke, in con-versations with someone foreign to that matrix, the notion of a birthright of linguistic au-thority. Under the magnification of reflective linguistic inquiry, however, the borderline between L1 and L2 speakers shows itself to be constructed upon layers of misprision and folkloric concepts of language. Indeed, there is nothing intrinsically linguistic about that borderline of native language nationality; it is erected by psychological, social, political, historical, and cultural anxieties that have been projected upon language...
Laura Callahan : Preconstructed vs. discursive negotiation of group and individual identities
Two positions often arise in reviews and criticism of sociolinguistic research. These positions each go by various names, but are often presented grosso modo as two opposing sides. Under the first position, groups and their members are categorized a priori, according to properties such as sex, race, ethnicity, and native speaker. This position is often referred to as essentialist or positivist. Under the second position, which is now often put forward as the one researchers should follow—despite criticisms from some quarters that the methodology of such studies lacks rigor—properties such as the aforementioned are contextual, negotiable, subject to change within interactions between individual speakers. This position has been referred to as constructionist or constructivist. But even when...
Deborah Cameron : The one, the many and the Other: representing mono/multilingualism in post- 9/11 verbal hygiene
I begin with one of the questions offered by the organizers of this symposium:  ‘If multilingualism is founded on an assumption that we are shifting away from a monolingual perspective, how sound is that assumption? Can one shift away from that which does not exist in the first place?’  My perspective is that of a sociolinguist with a particular interest in language ideologies and verbal hygiene practices (Cameron 1995/in press). I take it that what ‘exists’ encompasses not only empirically-observed linguistic practice, but also representations of language, which often exert a more powerful influence on the cultural imagination than the observable facts of language-use. However assiduously academics may seek to criticize or deconstruct them, ‘monolingualism’ and ‘multilingualism’...
Randall Halle : Polyglot Film: The Primacy of Visual Communication
Among others, Brian Lennon has discussed the direct connection between national literary print culture and monolingual discourse.  Unexplored is the relationship of national film culture and monolingualism. This presentation will take the moving image as its primary medium of investigation, a move which will also shift our focus from oral communication to visualtiy. We can note that the transition from silent to sound film is an important moment in the development of monolingalism. The binding of soundtrack to imagetrack, a fairly punctual transition, reduced the polyvalence of the cinematic image, binding the image to specific linguistic communities and particular national markets.  It marks in effect the emergence of distinctly national cinemas.   Yet it also marks the emergence of...
Michael Holquist : What Would Bakhtin Do?
I will argue that monolingualism has no ontological status in itself, but rather is an illusion of unity resulting from ignorance or religious credibility.   In making the argument, I will begin with Bakhtin’s metalinguistics, where the emphasis is on jerry rigging that goes on in the gap between individuals in dialog with themselves or others.  The foundational principle of dialogism is that nothing exists in itself. The resulting hegemony of the sharing/difference pattern that makes relation the key to understanding the world and other people insures that claims (at least of the sort that are usually made) for a single language will be tenable only at the deepest level of confessional belief or highest level of intellectual abstraction.  The naive belief of so-called ‘lost tribes’ that...
Claire Kramsch : Authenticity and Legitimacy in Multilingual Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
After problematizing the authority of the native speaker in second language acquisition research, applied linguists are now questioning the very notion of standard national language as an appropriate object of study (Canagarajah 2007, Cenoz & Gorter 2010). More important than learning the elements of one whole symbolic system, they argue, is the necessity of learning to move between languages and to understand and negotiate the multiple varieties of codes, modes, genres, registers and discourses that students will encounter in the real world. It is also necessary to take advantage of the increasingly multilingual composition of language classes and to draw on the students’ multilingual competences, even if they are learning one language. Moving between languages, however, not only...
Don Kulick : On the Benefits of Working in a Language One Doesn’t Know
One discernable legacy of the rise of identity politics in the 1980s, and the debates in the academy that began at that same time about Orientalism, postcolonialism, and reflexivity has been an increased reticence for researchers to “speak for the Other”. In practice, this entails a reluctance to study groups to which one does not belong oneself. This epistemological and political squeamishness, combined with the neoliberal reformulation of university education that pressures departments and students to   finish higher degrees quickly, makes it difficult for graduate students pursuing studies in disciplines like anthropology or sociolinguistics to spend much time learning foreign languages – especially small, poorly (or un-)documented languages, or non-western-European languages. During...
Brian Lennon : Can Multilingualism be Simulated?
I propose to consider the question “Can multilingualism be simulated?” The term “multilingualism” is often used to mark one of the human social and existential behavioral conditions produced especially by experiences of migration and displacement, but also by special intensities of education. To the extent that it stands in contrast with “monolingualism” as marking the state-managed sovereignty of a nationalized standard, or written dialect, “multilingualism” is also often used to mark the violation of de jure or de facto state-managed codes for public (and certain forms of private) communication, including those employed in and for the regulation of both labor and education. If “multilingualism” is in some ways thus often imagined as a litmus test for what we might call the humanity of a...
Glenn Levine : Can multilingualism be simulated? Languages and cultures as moving targets inside and beyond the classroom.
Multilingualism is the ostensible long-term goal of adult language instruction: Students should learn the vocabulary, grammar, and cultural norms of the new language and culture so they can use language and interact appropriately with other speakers of that language, and interpret cultural artifacts of that culture in terms of their content or significance. From the vantage point of their first language they may become multilingual and multicultural. Yet communicative approach pedagogy as generally manifested in the U.S. and elsewhere understandably aims to simulate a monolingual L2 environment in the classroom (Levine 2011). At the same time, because the classroom is a pedagogical environment (van Lier 1988), the distance of this facsimile from the ‘reality’ of life is taken for granted...
Sinfree Makoni : Indeterminacy and Taxi-Lingua-Cultures: An Analysis of 20th Century Taxi-Inscriptions in West Africa
In this presentation, I analyze language practices of taxi inscriptions in Ghana during the mid-20th century. Cars and highlife (a type of African hip hop) are connected in many ways. Highlife music is played in cars; cars render highlife mobile. In Ghana, as in many other regions of Africa, people love cars. The extreme respect given to cars is striking, given the fact that prior to colonialism there was no wheeled transport, including cars/taxis. Shuttling between rural areas and cities, each driver has a unique relationship with his car, giving it a specific name that reflects the conditions under which he acquired it or that reflects his personal conditions. The autobiographical details and orientation towards the discourses and inscriptions on drivers’ cars produces a personal...
Joshua Miller : “Homo Diaspora”: Reading Futurist Language Fictions as Translational Histories
A flurry of 21st century novels have appeared that could be described as linguistic dystopian fiction. Channeling apocalyptic millennial sentiments of both comfortable cosmopolitans and desperate transnational migrants, such language science fictions represent futurist or alternative multilingual worlds in which semiotic and translational problems generate ontological ruptures. But what do the language crises depicted in such novels as China Miéville’s Embassytown (2011) and Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet (2012) signify? One of the many intriguing dimensions of these works is their intertextual dialogue with a longer tradition of linguist(ic) narratives. This paper will examine recent literary and cinematic portrayals of linguists and translators within multilingual worlds in light of...
Carol Pfaff : Ideologies, Policies, and Practices of Multilingualism: Perspectives from Germany in the 21st Century
My contributions to the discussion will address three areas of research relevant for reevaluating and refining work in multilingualism: •Empirical studies of the language development of multilinguals in Berlin, particularly on the development of Turkish, German and English of children and adolescents of the 2nd and 3rd generations of migrants from Turkey. These include empirical studies of the speakers’ and writers’ “monolingual modes” in quasi-academic settings, which reflect the changing varieties in their “bilingual / multilingual modes”. •Policy issues in Germany, in which language policy itself appears to be the carrier of social and political policies, in particular as one of the most important criteria for assessment of eligibility for immigration and citizenship, and as measure of...
Alison Phipps : Unmoored: Language Pain, Porosity and Poisonwood
Straining under the incompatible requirements of functionalism and deconstruction multilingualism is ‘increasing unmoored’. To be moored requires two anchors. Unmooring occurs when one or both of these are raised. To be moored suggests safety, to be unmoored suggests possibility, potential pain or danger, release and a sea-ward flow. This paper aims to consider the experience of unmoored multilingualism through autoethnographic reflection, literary fiction, anthropology of movement and the embodied relationship between pain and languages. Key referents include Elaine Scarry The Body in Pain (1988) and Thinking in an Emergency (2011), Simone Weil’s Essay on Human Personality (1943) and Anne Carson’s Decreation  (2005) where she considers the ‘ancient struggle of breath against death’ (No...
Mary Louise Pratt : If English was good enough for Jesus: Monolinguismo y mala fe” El conocido chiste
“If English was good enough for Jesus: Monolinguismo y mala fe” El conocido chiste, " Si el inglés fue suficiente para Jesucristo...." ofrece un raro momento de autoreconocimiento sobre la locura que existe en la sociedad estadounidense alrededor de la cuestión de la  lengua, con sus dimensiones religiosas y geopolíticas. Esta conferencia indaga esa locura, recordando los escritos de Teddy Roosevelte en el Kansas City Star (1917-19), y aún más atrás, la Torre de Babel, aparentemente bajo reconstrucción hoy dia en algunas regiones estadounidenses. Los debates linguísticos actuales en la región andina ayudará a iluminar las continuas mutaciónes del imperio y de la colonialidad en las Américas contemporaneas. De ahi  preguntaremos por los caminos a seguir ahora. Respetando nuestra localidad...
Anthony Pym : Translation as a Tool of Multilingual Inculturation
Translation Studies, in its foundational terms, must assume multilingualism but has also long presupposed monoglots: whenever our models separate “source language” from “target language,” we present translations as border-markers between monolingual spaces. Yet the world is more complicated, and we must do better. One way forward, fashionable enough, is to find translation in all communication, within all linguistic spaces, to an extent that would dissolve any pretense at monolingualism. An alternative solution, more tied to empirical historiography, is to trace the ways in which multilingual ideological formations (broadly in the sense of Pêcheux) use translation in order to divide linguistic spaces at the same time as they expand across those same spaces. A model of the latter endeavor...
Tom Ricento : Language Policy, Political Theory, and English as a ‘Global’ Language
Within the language policy and planning literature, coherent and explicit theories of politics and power are rarely evident.  Terms such as ‘dominant language’ and ‘minority language’ can mean different things in different contexts.  Other terms that tend to be under-theorized include globalization, market economy, and liberalism.  On the other hand, within the literature of political theory, a great deal of attention is paid to liberalism, justice, and fairness, but when these frameworks and their corresponding criteria are applied to matters of languages and language policies, normative approaches tend to ignore or mischaracterize the relations between language, identity, community, and the evolution of particular societies viewed from long-term historical perspective.  In this paper, I...
Rohini Srihari : Multilingual Text Mining: Lost in Translation, Found in Native Language Mining
There has been a meteoric rise in the amount of multilingual content on the web.  This is primarily due to social media sites such as Facebook, and Twitter, as well as blogs, discussion forums, and reader responses to articles on traditional news sites.  Language usage statistics indicate that Chinese is a very close second to English, and could overtake it to become the dominant language on the web.   It is also interesting to see the explosive growth in languages such as Arabic.  The availability of this content warrants a discussion on how such information can be effectively utilized.   Such data can be mined for many purposes including business-related competitive insight, e-commerce, as well as citizen response to current issues.  This talk will begin with motivations for...
Yasemin Yıldız : The Monolingual Paradigm and the Postmonolingual Condition
  My contribution, coming out of a literary and cultural studies angle, will primarily address conceptual questions, the clarification of which I see as paramount to the formulation of productive and critical research agendas relating to multilingualism. Based on my research, I will argue that “Multilingualism 2.0” needs to focus much more explicitly on the impact of monolingualism as a historically specific yet currently dominant paradigm than the initial stage of scholarship on multilingualism has done. To contribute to this direction, I will lay out my understanding of monolingualism as a paradigm as well as introduce my concept of the “postmonolingual condition.” With this concept I seek to draw attention to the tensions between multilingual practices and the monolingual paradigm as...