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Identités et relations interculturelles - Colloques

Multilingual Repertoires and Multilingual Discourse

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2016

multilingual-conference-posterDate: 26-28 October 2016
Location: Parramatta South Campus

Contrary to what we might think, most people on this planet actually speak more than one language. What happens in the minds of people who can speak more than one language is a much-debated question in linguistic research. While it has been established that knowing more than one language has many cognitive advantages, it is less clear what happens linguistically. One critical question is whether the available languages form distinct systems like partitions on a computer hard drive or whether they are more like a colour palette of a painter, where colours can be mixed and used in creating a novel work of art. One can find evidence for both: we all know people who can, seemingly effortless, switch from one language to another without the faintest trace of an accent. New languages resulting from language contact in bilingual minds, such as Gurindji Kriol in the Northern Territory, are powerful testimony for the creative side of multilingual language repertoires.

But how is such a repertoire organised cognitively? What, if any predictions and generalisations can be made with respect to its utilisation? What are educational and economic implications? How does it impact on the mental well-being of people, given that languages are all inevitably intertwined with culture? If we want to answer these and other questions, we first and foremost must know what multilingual speakers do with their multilingual "colour palette", their rich multilingual repertoire. Given that most people on this planet are in fact speakers of more than one language, this is a pressing subject for humanity in a globalised world.

The conference aims at bringing together researchers and educators who have experience with a repertoire-based approach on language variation, contact and change, especially in the following contexts: multilingual settings; settings with dominant community language (with or without diglossia); scenarios of prolonged language shift or long-standing and possibly institutionalised multilingualism; languages in Australia; the "creole" - ethnolect continuum, especially in an Australian context (Kriol –Aboriginal English); code switching/mixing. More information...>>>