6th World Conference on Pluricentric Languages and their non-dominant Varieties
Nitra, June 21-23 2018

Aims of the conference

General objectives if the work of the WGNDV

  • The conference is as the five 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 6th conference:

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:

The main objectives of this conference are:

1.  To get exhaustive reports of the situation of as many plc. languages and nd-varieties in EUROPE as possible and in particular of lesser known and researched ones:

  • Albanian, Armenian, Basque, Catalan, Croatian, Finish, Frisian, Gaelic, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Occitan, Ossetian, Romanian, Russian, Sami, Scots, Serbian, Yiddish etc.
  • ND-varietiesof Albanian, Armenian, Catalan, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Swedish, Spanish etc.  in Europe
  • Reports on the development of Russian in the former member-states of the Soviet Union

2.   To get exhaustive reports of the situation in plc. languages and nd-varieties in EUROPE where there are conflicts of any kind. The conflicts might be of different types (to name only a few):

  • Disputes in and between languages that are linguistically close to each other whether they to be considered as languages of their own or as varieties of a single pluricentric language.  
  • Conflicts between dominant and non-dominant varieties (Dominant varieties that do not accept the very existence of non-dominant varieties and their specific norms or only superficially by imposing its norms via dictionaries and text books etc.);
  • Conflicts within non-dominant varieties about which norm should be preferred – exogenous language standards that are leaning towards the dominant norm or a native norm that in the long run might develop into a language of its own; etc.
  • Intensive language contact in plc. languages with contiguous language areas and norm pressure on nd-varieties (e.g. influence of German German on Austrian German)

3.    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:

  • 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.)
  • 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.)
  • 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.)
  • 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.
4.   In addition to the aspects outlined in (3) we want to deepen the theory of plc. languages and the methods for the description of nd-varieties in particular in respect to:

    • 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;
    • The usage of endonormative codification strategies and their impact on the development of varieties and languages;
    • Measures of status planning and corpus planning etc. etc.
    5.   The treatment of linguistic variation in plc. languages in language technology (speech recognition and speech synthesis)
    • 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.

    Other topics are welcome!