Hison conference April 2009

Historical Sociolinguistics Network (HiSoN)

with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

International Conference on

Language and History, Linguistics and Historiography

April 2nd – April 4th, 2009

Burwalls, University of Bristol


Burwalls Centre for Continuing Education


Robert Evans (University of Oxford, UK):

Official Languages: A Brief Prehistory

Peter Trudgill (Universitetet i Agder, Norway):

Old English, Late British, Old Norse: what really happened?

Tomasz Kamusella (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland):

Politics of Classification: the case of Slavic languages

Juan Hernandez-Campoy (Universidad de Murcia, Spain):

Past be in Late Medieval England: Evidence from the Paston Family

Brian Joseph (Ohio State University, USA):

Historical Linguistics and Sociolinguistics? Strange bedfellows or natural friends?

What are the barriers to collaboration between history and linguistics and

how do we overcome them?


Interdisciplinary research has been one of the buzzwords in academic research for a number of years, yet – at least in the humanities - it appears that little actual progress has been made with regard to bringing different disciplines, e.g. social historians and sociolinguists together to jointly tackle methodological, programmatic, and practical problems. This conference seeks to address key problems related to the nature of interdisciplinary research in sociolinguistics and social history. Papers are invited to present and discuss current research problems and findings on


  • Social/linguistic history from below: the shift towards a focus on the language and living conditions of the underpriviledged
  • Historians’ view of language, linguists’ view of history: the necessity of an understanding of the other discipline to pursue research in one’s own 
  • Identity formation and social conflicts: the use of language as a social tool in political and social conflicts
  • Communicative spaces: the use and restriction of communication in geographical and imagined spaces
  • Historical semantics: the changes in the meaning and significance of words and concepts
  • Historical discourse analysis and pragmatics: the changes in ways people speak, act, and communicate
  • Corpora, editorial practice, data interpretation, translation: methodological problems associated with investigating social history and historical language(s)


Joint presentations by historians and linguists are particularly encouraged. There will be a number of small bursaries for postgraduates to help with costs.

Nils Langer, School of Modern Languages, 21 Woodland Road, University of Bristol, BS8 1TE

For enquiries, please contact nils.langer@bris.ac.uk