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Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Communication Sciences
Multilingual Practices in the History of Written English

Historical code-switching and multilingualism sessions at HiSoN 2016

After the successful Historical Code-Switching: The Next Step symposium, held in Tampere in 2014, the MultiPract project organises a series of thematic sessions at the HiSoN Conference in Helsinki, from 10 to 11 March, 2016. The theme of the conference is Historical Sociolinguistics and Socio-Cultural Change, which accommodates many code-switching researchers’ interests. There will be four sessions on historical multilingualism at the conference. The papers cover two millennia and deal with English, French, Latin and a wide range of other languages.

Session 1: Setting the scene

The introductory session highlights important social and linguistic concerns in historical code-switching and multilingualism research: the switching–borrowing problem, code-choice and linguistic variation, and the functions of different languages.

Session 2: Professional communities

Multilingual practices are characteristic of language use of various social groups and communities of the past. A well-known example of this is medieval business discourse from England, but there is plenty of evidence of multilingual features in other domains and periods as well. This session focuses on professionals and professional groups and their multilingual practices.

Session 3: The domain of education

Many discourse domains of the past were typically multilingual. The domain of education is a case in point: multilingual skills are reflected in texts produced at and for schools and universities, be they grammars, plays or applications. The papers in this session deal with early modern materials.

Session 4: Individuals and families

Questions of identity and interaction are often highlighted in approaches to multilingualism. Recent studies take the personal repertoire of writers as their starting point or look at how writers tailor their language use to specific interlocutors in different communicative situations. This session focuses on individual language users and familial communication.

These sessions will take place on the second day of the conference, 11 March. Welcome to HiSoN 2016!

Päivi Pahta, Janne Skaffari, Jukka Tyrkkö & Laura Wright

Contact person: Veera Saarimäki (

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Last update: 10.2.2016 16.24 Muokkaa

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