Časopis Slovo a slovesnost
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Call for Abstracts

For a special issue of Slovo a slovesnost


Guest editors:

Marek Nekula (University of Regensburg)
Stefan Michael Newerkla (University of Vienna)

Concept and aims:

When sociolinguistics established itself as an independent discipline between linguistics and sociology during the so-called pragmatic turn of the 1960s and 1970s, its research primarily focused on the present. This emphasis was also reflected in its use of both linguistic and sociological methods and their further development, regardless of whether the research orientation was quantitative or qualitative. As a result of the aforementioned methods and their use in the framework of empirical research, it may seem that the discipline is exclusively grounded in synchronic research. Sociolinguistics, however, is a discipline which does not only deal with interactions and their social aspects and representations of societal differentiations in linguistic variation and patterns of language use. It also explores the covariance between changes in linguistic and social norms, whether they are examined in longitudinal studies or by means of language biographies, whose narratives reflect changes in the linguistic situation over the course of several generations. The specificity of historical sociolinguistics thus lies not in its study of changes in linguistic and social norms, but rather, in the fact that the research deals with a period which can no longer by studied directly through active observation or by examining its participants, but exclusively via documents: registries, urbaria, ego-documents, contemporaneous papers, the press or ordinances and statistics concerning the state, land, rule, city, school and so on. At the same time, historical sociolinguistics must cope with the fact that the data is not of equal quality – it is usually patchy as well. Therefore, the necessity of specific research methods naturally arises, regardless of whether the aim is to study the history of settlements with the help of historical onomastics, urban multilingualism, the social background established by new genres or the formation of linguistic identity and social deixis.

It is precisely these historical sociolinguistic methods and their use in case studies that is the focus of this special issue, which poses the following questions among others: Which methods does historical sociolinguistics create for its research purposes and how does it use them? In what way are quantitative and qualitative approaches and methods of sociolinguistic research adapted in regard to handwritten and printed documents? How does sociolinguistics treat documents involving quantity such as censuses, registries and business ledgers? Is the triangulation of methods in historical sociolinguistics only possible when taking qualitative approach, while quantitative data require a methodological mix including qualitative methods and approaches? To what degree may contemporaneous engravings or postcards be used in the framework of historical sociolinguistics in the study of linguistic landscapes?


Timeline and procedure:

Please send abstracts of proposed articles (up to one standard page in length, i.e., 1800 characters including spaces) to the addresses listed below by July 31, 2021. The abstracts will be reviewed by the special issue’s editors and the head editor of Slovo a slovesnost. Selected authors will be contacted by email by August 8, 2021. The submission date for articles is December 31, 2021. Accepted languages for abstracts and publication are Czech, Slovak, English and German. The special thematic issue will be published in 2022.  All articles will be submitted for peer review.


Abstracts should be sent to the following email addresses:

<Marek.Nekula@ur.de>, <stefan.newerkla@univie.ac.at>, <slovo@ujc.cas.cz>.