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Welcome

A warm welcome to the website of ICL 20, the 20th International Congress of Linguists. The congress is to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018. The hosts are CIPL (Comité International Permanent des Linguistes), the LSSA (Linguistics Society of Southern Africa) and UCT (the University of Cape Town). Our partner organisations are given below. Please follow the links to find out more about these dynamic organisations.

The Congress is held every five years, and is meant to showcase current developments in Linguistics. The Congress will run over five days, have a plenary panel on linguistics in South Africa, nine plenary speakers covering a range of major sub-fields, 10 paper sessions each with its own focus speaker, up to 30 workshops, and several poster sessions. While speakers and topics are drawn from a wide international pool, ICL 20 will take the additional opportunity of showcasing African language research. It will also cover applied linguistic areas of research of vital importance to the African continent and the 21st century at large, with a special extended session on Multilingualism, Education, Policy and Development.

Please take a look at the pages on our Scientific Committee, our invited plenary speakers, session topics and call for workshop proposals and abstracts. If you haven’t visited Cape Town before, please also have a look at some of the images of a beautiful and diverse city. We look forward to welcoming you at the tip of Africa in July 2018.


Prof. Rajend Mesthrie

President ICL 20.
June 2016.

In conjunction with Prof. D. Bradley. President CIPL


Hosts & Supporting/Partner Associations

CIPL Logo

Comité International Permanent des Linguistes / Permanent International Committee of Linguists

LSSA Logo
Linguistics Society of Southern Africa

SAALA Logo
Southern African Applied Linguistics Association

 
uct logo
University of Cape Town
ALASA Logo
African Language Association of Southern Africa

SAALA Logo1
South African Association for ​Language Teaching

 

Registration NOW OPEN!
27 June 2018 Online Registration Closes

 

Water situation in Cape Town
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2 - 6 July 2018

 

Prof. Jane Stuart-Smith (University of Glasgow)

As in many disciplines, in linguistics too, perspective matters. Structured variability in language occurs at all linguistic levels and is governed by a large range of diverse factors. Viewed through a synchronic lens, such variation informs our understanding of linguistic and social-cognitive constraints on language at particular points in time; a diachronic lens expands the focus across time. And as Weinreich et al (1968) pointed out, structured variability is integral to linguistic description and explanation as a whole, by being at once both the stuff of the present, the reflexes of the past, and the potential for changes in the future. There is a further dimension which is often not explicit, the role of analytical perspective on linguistic phenomena.

In this paper, I will focus on a particular area of linguistics, how to account for sound change, and specifically the extent to which this is affected by two key aspects of analytical perspective:

  1. How the analyst’s observational lenses on phonetic and phonological variation itself can shape, inform, and guide interpretation
  2. How relative depth in terms of time and place can influence our interpretation

The basis and examples for my discussion will be drawn from a series of empirical phonetic and phonological studies carried out which chart variation and change across the 20th century in the social diversity of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. My observational lenses on sound variation include methods from auditory phonetics, articulatory phonetics (ultrasound tongue imaging), and acoustic phonetics. My chronological scope on sound change covers the recorded history of Glasgow vernacular, especially through the Sounds of the City project. Its social scope is expanded from macro- to micro-social and ethnographic studies encompassing the social and ethnic linguistic diversities of the city, including Glasgow Asian (‘Glaswasian’) and Glasgow Gaelic.

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