Call for Proposals
A’ Chànain Cheòlmhor [The Musical Language]:
Language Revitalization through Music
Mabou, NS (Canada), October 8-11, 2019
This workshop will bring together a mix of scholars and community organizations all working on language revitalization through music. We welcome proposals relating to any language although the event will focus especially on Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Sociolinguists agree that of the world’s approximately 6,000 languages spoken today, 50% will disappear within 100 years. It is essential that we develop a robust, varied, and effective toolkit to support language revitalization efforts, regardless of the language at stake. While sociolinguists have long been researching which languages are threatened, what happens to a language in decline, and how to reverse language decline, the focus is almost always on the spoken language. This workshop offers a unique perspective in its emphasis on music as the primary point of encounter with language and, as such, it offers a previously unrecognized and undervalued means of supporting threatened languages.
We invite community groups and cultural activists to present on projects and initiatives that connect music and language, especially where language learning and development is a primary aim but music is the means by which it is achieved. We invite scholars to present on research that addresses how language revitalization can be driven by music, song, and/or dance, or that otherwise considers the intersections between music and language revitalization. Presentations could address, for example,
- teaching language learners to transcribe song recordings in another language or write original songs in another language;
- integrating language instruction into music lessons;
- documenting song lyrics as the basis for language-oriented projects (e.g., dictionaries);
- drawing on movement or sound to learn language or linguistic elements (such as rhythm);
- using traditional music contexts (such as the ceilidh) to inform language learning contexts and methods.
The workshop will be held in beautiful Mabou – the heart of Gaelic Nova Scotia – at the newest facilities of the Gaelic College (gaeliccollege.edu). There will be opportunities to interact with the local community, as well as to share music and songs within the context of the workshop. Key to this event will be daily sessions for brainstorming and planning collaborative projects, events, and research. The workshop will end the day that the Celtic Colours International Festival starts (celtic-colours.com) and just ahead of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. We hope that delegates will take the opportunity to stay on beyond the workshop to enjoy this really quite magical time on the island.
Funding is currently being sought to support travel, food, and accommodation expenses, particularly for those who might not otherwise have access to conference travel funds (such as graduate students, part-time faculty, and non-profit organizations). We strongly encourage anyone having expertise or experience with using music to support language learning and revitalization to submit a proposal, regardless of ability to pay for travel.
Participants should submit proposals by April 30. Proposals, including paper or presentation title, presenter name, brief biographical sketch, and a 250-word abstract should be sent to Heather Sparling, Department of Literature, Folklore and The Arts, Cape Breton University, PO Box 5300, Sydney, NS, B1P 6L2 (email@example.com). Information on registration, accommodations and possible travel funding will follow during the coming months.