5th World Conference on Pluricentric Languages and their non-dominant Varieties
Mainz, 13-15 July 2017

World-Conference on pluricentric Languages and
their Non-Dominant Varieties:
Models of pluricentricity: Nation, space and language

Mainz, Germany, 13-15 July 2017

Organized by the International Working Group on Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages (WGNDV)

Call for papers

We would like to invite scholars from around the world to participate in the 5th conference organized by the Working Group on Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages (WGNDV). The conference will take place for the very first time in Germany, at Johannes Gutenberg University/Mainz. The conference is as the four previous ones - devoted to the description of pluricentric languages and in particular of non-dominant national varieties of plc. languages and continues its work set up by the concepts outlined in Kloss (1951/1978) and in particular by Clyne (1992).

The WGNDV focuses on the promotion of the theory of plc. languages by its worldwide perspective and on varieties that are small by the number of their speakers and their symbolic power, and are not the primary norm-setting centres of the language. They may often be falsely attributed the status of a "Dialekt", and often have little or no codification of their norms.

The previous conferences of the WGNDV (see have shown that non-dominant varieties around the world have many linguistic and sociolinguistic features in common. We would therefore like to deepen our knowledge and invite scholars from around the world to take part in the conference and give insight into the situation and features of as many nd-varieties and plc. languages as possible.

Objectives of the 5thconference:

The WGNDV wishes to continue in the line of the previous conferences and to extend the scope of its research. This time the conference will try to focus on the influence of geographic aspects on the modelling of dominant and non-dominant varieties to further advance the understanding of whether geographically contiguous varieties follow the same pathways in their affirmation as own varieties as do geographically separated ones (e.g. European and Brazilian Portuguese). The main objectives of this conference are:

  1. To discuss different theoretical approaches and models for the description of plc. languages, especially in regard to languages with contiguous language areas (Albanian, French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.). Different models are propagated at the moment and need consideration in respect to their validity:
    1. Models that are based on the notion of state languages and thus considering each nation as a linguistic centre of its own emphasizing the identity aspect that is connected to national varieties. (The sociolinguistically-oriented standard model)
    2. Models that mostly downgrade national varieties to geographical variation. This approach that is often found in centralised plc. languages and in dominant varieties of languages with contiguous language areas (see above). (The pluriareal model)
    3. Models that are language centred and primarily focused on linguistic differences of the so called “standard language” excluding all other varieties within the NV and all aspects of identity connected with linguistic differences. (The linguistically-oriented model)
    4. Models that deal with "nativised varieties" of plc. languages in multilingual societies in Africa and Asia and where it seems appropriate to discuss whether these are still to be considered "English", "French" etc. (The multilingual-nativisation model)
    5. Models that try to cope with multiple pluricentricity as it is the case in Hindi, Urdu and Chinese (and may be in other languages too) that serve as "Dachsprache" ("roof language"). (The roof-language model)
    6. Contested pluricentricity in "new" plc. languages where the dominant variety rejects the idea of pluricentricity and insists on a unified standard language or where there are varieties that still lack a broadly accepted standard due to the competition of several centres (Catalan). (The contested-pluricentricity-model)
    The organizers of the conference would be happy to get many proposals for papers that discuss aspects of the above named models and want to encourage authors to put forward their own concepts.
  2. In addition to the aspects outlined in (1) we want to deepen the theory of plc. languages and the methods for the description of nd-varieties in particular in respect to:
    • Migrant varieties creating new types of pluricentricity
    • Second level forms of pluricentricity within national varieties and their theoretical treatment
    • Strategies for coping with language shift caused by electronic media and satellite TV spreading dominant norms to non-dominant varieties
    • Treatment of linguistic and pragmatic features of nd-varieties in education in primary and secondary schools
    • Principles of codification in diglossic language communities of plc. languages, esp. the treatment of divergent linguistic forms that are common in everyday communication
    • The usage of endonormative codification strategies and their impact on the development of varieties and languages. Measures of status planning and corpus planning etc.
  3. To get more information about the situation of as many pluricentric languages and non-dominant-varieties in order to get empirically secure descriptions of effects of non-dominance:
    • on the identity of their speakers and the identity of their language communities
    • on the treatment of norms in written and spoken language
    • on the principles of codification and their spread to younger generations
    • on methods in speech technology and language-technology, how linguistic variation between and within national varieties and nd-varieties in particular can be treated and modelled
  4. To get exhaustive reports of the situation of as many plc. languages and nd-varieties around the world as possible and in particular of lesser known and researched plc. languages and nd-varieties like:
    • Albanian, Aramaic, Aromunian, Basque, Bengali, Chinese, Croatian, Guaranni, Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu, Hungarian, Kiswahili / Swahili, Kurdish, Mapudungun, Occitan, Pashto, Punjabi, Quechua, Tamil, Romanian, Russian etc.
    • ND-varieties of English, French, Spanish, Portuguese in Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia
    • ND-varieties of German in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg
    • Reports on the development of Russian in the former member-states of the Soviet Union
    We are looking forward to bringing together young and established researchers working on pluricentric constellations and linguistic cultures all around the world. Submissions of papers by young researchers are particularly encouraged. A major effort will be put into supporting the participation of researchers from financially disadvantaged countries.

Time frame / Contents of papers

Papers (25 mins. + 5 mins. discussion) should address one or more of the above mentioned objectives of the conference as mentioned above.

Time frame / Contents of workshops

Workshops (90 minutes long) should concern specific languages and their various non-dominant varieties, and particular methodological problems in the description of non-dominant varieties.

  • All scholars working in this field are invited to submit proposals for papers/workshops by 30th March 2017
  • Notification of acceptance: 15th April 2017


  • All abstracts should be written in English and sent to as an email-attachment in Word or PDF format.
  • Abstracts for 25-minutes papers should not exceed 3000 characters (1 page A4) including 4 keywords.
  • Abstracts for 90-minutes workshops should not exceed 5000 characters (1 1/2 page A4) including 4-8 keywords. Workshop organizers should outline the overall structure of the workshop and provide names of the participants.

Conference language(s) and Sections

  • The conference languages will be English and German plus the languages of the sections for specific languages if there are enough presentations to establish a section.
  • The following sections are envisaged: English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, a general section and language technology section.
  • All Power Point presentations at the conference must be written in English, the oral presentation can be held in the language of the section.

Publication of papers and delivery of papers

  • A volume of selected papers is to be published by Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt.
  • All papers for the conference and the publication will be peer-reviewed.