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UiL-OTS Colloquium


17 December 2020
15:30 - 17:00
Online in Microsoft Teams

Hans Van de Velde

Laboratory Sociolinguistics and the ultimate linguistic paradise

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Utrecht University, Fryske Akademy

This talk has a double aim: I will introduce to you a linguistic paradise and a new linguistic sub-discipline that we want to develop: laboratory sociolinguistics.
First, I will take you to a largely undiscovered area, consisting of islands with sandy beaches, dangerous cliffs, small polder villages scattered around lakes and canals, and eleven world-famous cities. A multilingual area, where you can find bilingual speakers of two closely related languages, one of them being a minority language with a complex vowel system (with monophthongs, diphthongs, triphthongs and nasalized vowels). Where other people speak a contact variety of these languages and some of them are trilinguals, combining the two closely related languages and the contact variety. An area, where some of the varieties are well documented by linguists, and others not. An area where phonetics is an almost unbeaten path, and full of interesting surprises. And it even has a research institute that focuses on the languages and language varieties spoken in this area.
You probably think now, how can we travel to such an idyllic linguistic paradise in these corona times? I don’t want so sit at least half a day in an airplane to travel to the other side of the world. Well, it’s not that far. You only have to cross the Afsluitdijk or the Flevopolder to arrive in Fryslân. I will introduce you to the linguistic situation, the research infrastructure and some interesting linguistic phenomena.
Second, I will introduce the theoretical background, aims and methods of laboratory sociolinguistics. A field that I want to develop at UiL OTS and Fryske Akademy.