(English and French)
26-28 September 2008
Organised by the Department of French
University of Turku, Finland
Living, working and studying in (a) vehicular
Language, discourse, hybridity and identities
A vehicular language (VL) is, among other things, « a contact
language between persons who share neither a common native
tongue nor a common national culture » (Alan Firth 1996). VLs
are usually opposed to vernacular languages.
Since the beginning of times, VLs have been used between
“non-native speakers” in order to communicate, make business,
argue, love each other, hate each other... The current study of
VLs in research worlds has mainly focused on English as a lingua
franca (ELF) which seems to be widely resorted to in many
contexts of international encounters. Its widespread use tends to
trigger contradictory discourses of fear (ELF means the “death”
of other languages, cultures, thought...; a threat to
multilingualism) and enthusiasm (ELF allows millions of people to
communicate peacefully worldwide). But what about other VLs?
This conference will distinguish itself from the current rich study
of ELF by looking at other languages that serve as VL (without
excluding it) and find some answers to questions such as: What
is known of them? What impacts do they have on relationships,
intercultural communication, discourse and identity, etc.?
Aims of the conference:
This unique bilingual conference (English and French) will
provide a forum for discussing vehicular languages. The
conference has three main aims:
1. To link emergent theoretical and research approaches to the
use of VL in under-researched contexts such as close personal
relations (binational couples/friends communicating in a VL/ in
VLs) and daily life; studying in VLs (abroad or in one’s own
country); working in VLs (idem).
2. To explore the impacts of the use of VLs on representations
and creations of self and otherness of VL users themselves, and
of those who “witness” this use, in different geographical,
professional and social contexts.
3. To call for more research on VL other than English by sharing
theoretical and research achievements on the latter.
The overarching philosophy of the conference is that VLs are
neither “impure”, nor signs of “lost identities”. The main focuses
are discourse and language forms.
Research and theoretical papers are invited on any of the
following themes (among others):
- Easiness/Problems involved in VL communication;
- Code-switching/code-mixing in VL communication (cf. “verbal
jugglery” Galisson 1991);
- Use of several VLs in communication (plurilingualism);
- Rhetorics on VL (rejection/adoration/contradictory attitudes in
political, official discourses);
- Identity games/claims and VL;
- Representations and stereotypes on VLS:
- Representations of VL users on the use of VL (co/construction of identities);
- Representations of non-VL users on the use of VLs;
- Representations of « native-speakers » on the use of
their language as a VL;
- Representations of VLs in cinema, literature, media...;
- Intercultural communication and VLs.
The contexts of use under scrutiny will be living, working and
studying. These can include (among others): the use of VL(s) in
close relationships (friendship, couples, etc.); in daily encounters
of strangers; in tourism; in business (shopping, multinational
companies); on the streets; in classrooms; in New Technology...
The conference is bilingual (English and French) but any
vehicular language can be dealt with.
Plenary speakers:
Louis-Jean Calvet, Professor, University of Provence (AixMarseille 1), France
José del Valle, Professor, Hispanic Linguistics, The
graduate Centre, CUNY, USA
The legitimacy of Spanish: vehicular language or sign of
Alan Firth, Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, School of
Education, Communication and Language Sciences,
Newcastle university, UK
Marie-Anne Paveau,
Professor in French linguistics,
University of Paris 13 - Paris-Nord (Villetaneuse), France
Sue Wright, Professor of Languages and Politics, School of
Languages and Area Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK
Voices from the French-speaking world
Scientific committee :
Ainhoa de Federico, Institute of Anthropology and
Sociology, University of Lille 1, France
Fred Dervin, Department of French Studies, University of
Turku, Finland
Olga Galatanu, Department of linguistics and French as a
Foreign language, University of Nantes, France
Aino Niklas Salminen, Department of linguistics, University
of Provence, France
Abdel Latif Sellami, College of Arts & Sciences, Zayed
University, Dubai, U.A.E
Eija Suomela-Salmi, Department of French Studies,
University of Turku, Finland.
Tel: +358 (0) 23336041
Fax: +358 (0) 2 3336560
Snail-mail: VL, Department of French Studies, Henrikinkatu 2,
20014 Turun Yliopisto, Finland.