Indiana University

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Events for the
Monday, November 26, 2012
  • The 'new' ecology of language: Some critical thoughts on ecolinguistics

    Time: 05:00pm - 06:30pm 

    Place: Indiana Memorial Hall (IMU) Frangipani Room


    John Edwards (St. Francis Xavier University)

    As a focus of study, ecology emphasizes the holistic study of environments, with both beneficial and inimical interrelationships among plants, animals and, indeed, inorganic surroundings. The extension of this idea to language is particularly associated with the late Einar Haugen (circa 1972). His intent was to emphasize the interconnectedness of languages with their environments, with particular regard to status and function. Unfortunately, however, the breadth of the ecology-of-language view has been progressively reduced, and the label of ecology increasingly co-opted. Much that is written under the rubric of ecology now argues for pacific language interaction, instead of a more brutal social Darwinism, presenting a sense of a world in which there is room for all languages. This is a kinder and gentler picture, but is it always accurate?


    In category: Sociolinguistics and pragmatics


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