Regional Varieties, Language Shift and Linguistic Identities

Hosted by: Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research into Language and Diversity (InterLanD) and Institute for the Study of Language and Society (ISLS)

Date: 12-15 September 2012
Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Plenary speakers:

  • Prof. Joan Beal, University of Sheffield (UK)
  • Prof. Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University (USA)
  • Prof. Yaron Matras, University of Manchester (UK)

Regional varieties have become an important contributor to identity construction processes, and an increasingly important issue for the individual and the community in late Modernity: the individual is under constant and increasing pressure to define who s/he is and has to choose from an ever growing pool of possibilities to construct social identity in an increasingly globalized world, which is perceived as incromprehensively complex. By referring to what is seen as traditional regional language, dialect and culture, localizing oneself seems to be a viable way out of this dilemma. This should have stabilizing effects on lesser used varieties, which have been facing a gradual process of language shift and divergence towards dominant contact languages over the hundred years. Unfortunately, at the same time, modern life does not so much require knowledge of regional varieties as of standard languages and a good command of English as the global lingua franca. How can an upwardly mobile individual combine the requirements of modern life with identity construction on a regional scale if they so choose? What are the linguistic consequences for lesser used varieties and their respective contact languages?

Focussing on the individual speaker and the speech community which is created by the use of language(s) as social practice, the conference organizers welcome papers and posters on the following fields of research:

  • • Language contact between a lesser used regional variety and a dominant standard language.
  • • Identity and regional varieties;
  • • Indexicality and enregisterment;
  • • Variation and style;
  • • Postvernacular linguistic and cultural practices;
  • • Emblematic language use and language mixing;
  • • Lesser used regional varieties and the Internet;
  • • Regional varieties and linguistic landscapes;
  • • New approaches to dialectology.

Click here to register. Click here for important information about travel and arrival.


Members of the organising committee would like to invite you to submit an abstract for a presentation at the Regional Varieties, Language Shift and Linguistic Identities conference.  This call includes submissions for papers, poster sessions, discussion panels, workshops and roundtable discussions.

How to submit an abstract:

  • You should submit 2 copies, one anonymised, to lss_rvc@aston.ac.uk
  • Abstracts should be in Word format and no longer than 500 words including references.
  • The revised deadline for submission is 31st March 2012

Conference schedule:

Wednesday, 12th September 2012

4.00 – 7.00 pm

Registration, followed by drinks reception

Thursday, 13th September 2012

8.30 – 9.30 am



10.00am to 5.00 pm

Paper presentations

Friday, 14th September 2012

8.30 – 9.30 am



10.00am to 5.00 pm

Paper presentations


7.00 pm

Conference Dinner (optional)

Saturday, 15th September 2012


Optional Excursion to: The Black Country Living Museum and Canal Boat Trip

For queries please contact: LSS_RVC@aston.ac.uk