International Conference "Urban Language Research. Variation - Contact - Perception"

Ann Kathrin Fischer's picture
Call for Papers
October 30, 2017 to January 31, 2018
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Languages, Linguistics, Research and Methodology, Urban History / Studies


Urban Language Research

Variation - Contact - Perception

An International Conference at the University of Graz

31 October - 03 November 2018


In modern variationist and sociolinguistic studies, analyses of the repertoires of speakers in urban areas and the linguistic varieties and variants constituting these repertoires have advanced to the centre of research interest. A reason for this interest lies in the fact that the city, as a complex socio-cultural phenomenon, represents a space of complex linguistic variance and, thus, seems suitable for investigating processes of linguistic change ‘in vivo’. In particular, as the city represents a place of communication marked by internal and external multilingualism, it can show a wider range of variation in comparison to smaller places of rural character. Due to their role as economic and administrative centres, cities can be places of considerable linguistic homogenization and koinéisation, resulting in new urban varieties which in turn can influence the regional surroundings (agglomeration areas). In consideration of this complexity, methods and techniques of modern urban language research are diverse. They range from two-dimensional variation studies, assuming areal as well as social variation, to ethno-methodological, interactional and perceptual studies.

Language variability in urban communication, its dynamics in connection with social change against the background of internal and external multilingualism, and recurring routines are the central aspects of research which will be dealt with at the international conference Urban Language Research. Variation – Contact – Perception held at the University of Graz, Austria.

Contributions (individual papers and posters) from all areas of urban language research are welcome. Conference languages are English and German. Subsequent to the conference a peer reviewed publication of results is planned.


The focus of the conference will be, among others, on the following topics:


  • Language variation and change
  • Language in discourse and interaction
  • Language perception and attitudes
  • Research methods and techniques
  • Theoretical approaches and models of urban linguistic spaces
  • Distinction between urban and rural language use
  • Language and mobility - the role of migration and commuting in urban space
  • Linguistic landscapes
  • Constructing social identities in urban areas
  • Internal and external multilingualism - language contact in the city


The presentations are limited to 20 minutes with subsequent discussion.

The abstracts should not exceed 350 words (excluding references) and can be submitted via the online conference software tool called “ConfTool” on our homepage


Plenary speakers

  • David Britain (University of Bern)
  • Barbara Johnstone (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Paul Kerswill (University of York)
  • Sali A. Tagliamonte (University of Toronto)
  • Evelyn Ziegler (University of Duisburg-Essen)


Important Dates:

Abstract submission opens: 30 Oct 2017

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31 Jan 2018

Notification of acceptance: 15 Feb 2018

Registration: 19 Feb 2018 until 15 May 2018 (Earlybird until 31 Mar 2018)


Conference feeStandardReduced*
Earlybird (until 31 Mar 2018):EUR €125EUR €85
Regular (from 01 Apr 2018):EUR €150EUR €125

 *I.e. without regular employment, students etc. Please send us a verification (i.e. study confirmation) via urbanlanguage2018(at)



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