Workshop Themes

As many as 56 million people around the world are displaced by war, disaster, environmental degradation, poverty, and other causes. Millions of speakers of endangered languages are among these displaced people, and linguists around the world increasingly find themselves working with speakers living in diaspora.

What is the most appropriate way for linguists to work with language communities when speakers are in conflict with each other? What does community input or consent mean where there is often no accepted governance structure among immigrants?

How do we balance other community needs, such as legal and medical assistance, so that our linguistic research is a benefit to communities rather than a distraction from other issues? How can linguistic research benefit members of both diaspora and traditional communities?

How can community members collaborate with linguists in cases where educational systems have been so disrupted that young people have few opportunities for literacy? How does one make language archives or other materials available to members of both diaspora and traditional communities, who may have very different levels of access to information technology?

Does the role of the contact language(s) in documentation and description change in Diaspora contexts? It is sometimes necessary to use different contact languages for different members of a given diaspora community, and how does this affect the results of language description and analysis?

Speakers of minority languages in diaspora communities may be in the midst of language shift, which may result in some degree of language change or instability. Do the factors that govern language change in traditional speech communities apply to languages spoken in diaspora contexts?

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