International Conference: Conventional and unconventional ways of transmitting and revitalizing minoritized languages in European context and beyond, 8–9 September 2021, Warsaw

Over the last few decades, we can observe a great interest in sustaining the linguistic diversity of the world. Not only are there a growing number of language activists and activities aimed at protecting minority languages at the legal level so that they are recognized by states and dominant communities, but also to maintain them in use and to reinstate their lost domains of usage. Scholars researching language shift and loss, language revival and revitalization underline that the chosen strategy and its effectiveness depend on multiple factors, such as the ethnolinguistic vitality of a speech community, the level of language loss, language attitudes and language trauma. All these factors influence (potential) speakers’ opportunities, capacity and motivation to use and to transmit the language which always has a lower position on the linguistic market than the dominant languages.

The aim of language revitalization is “to bring a language back to some level of use within their communities after a period of reduction in usage” (Hinton, 2011, p. 291). Hence, it demands looking for new speakers and new domains of its use. Family language transmission is perceived to be a crucial factor in sustaining minority languages. Yet, where the intergenerational transmission has been disrupted, it is also the most difficult to achieve. In today’s context, both conventional and unconventional ways of minority language transmission should be appreciated. Minority language communities, speakers and language activists invent new ways of transmitting the language concerned.

The aim of this conference, then, is to explore these ways of transmitting minority and minoritized languages and discuss different aspects of language revitalization and maintenance.

The conference is open to researchers, PhD students and stakeholders from across the multidisciplinary field of minority languages.

The Conference Keynote speakers are:

  • Mary Linn, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
  • Justyna Olko, Center for Research and Practice in Cultural Continuity, Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw
  • Claudia Soria, CNR, Pisa, Italy
  • Michael Hornsby, UAM, Poland

Proposals regarding original research on minority and minoritized languages are invited in two formats: individual papers and panels.

Proposals for panels: Panels are collections of paper presentations that relate to a narrowly defined topic of interest and are offered in a three-hour time block, including at least 30 minutes for discussion. Proposals for panels are limited to 700 words and should include brief summaries (150 words) of each of the papers, along with paper titles and individual authors’ names. The person submitting a proposal for a panel is responsible for securing the permission and co-operation of all participants before the proposal is submitted. A chair for the session must also be identified.

The deadline for panels proposal submissions is 31st March 2021. Please send an abstract – of no more than 700 words plus the list of panelists, and their individual abstracts of no more than 150 words each – to Successful applicants will be notified by 30th April 2020.

Proposals for individual papers: The deadline for individual paper proposal submissions is 31st March 2021. Please send an abstract – of no more than 200 words plus references, if necessary – to Successful applicants will be notified by 30th April 2020.

Language policy: The language of the conference is English. If a presentation is based on data in any other language, the use of multilingual material (e.g. in PowerPoint slides, handouts) is recommended.

Full conference fee 100 euro and reduced fee of 60 euro for PhD students covers conference materials, drinks and lunches during the daytime.

Social dinner will be paid additionally.

Selected papers will also be considered for a post-conference publication in a special issue of a peer-reviewed academic journal.


Supported by the program “Excellent Science” of the Minister of Education and Science.

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