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Historical Sociolinguistics Network 2017

CUNY Graduate Center/New York University

New York City, April 6–7, 2017

Examining the Social in Historical Sociolinguistics: Methods and Theory


Proposal for a panel on the topic

The CILROM database of language columns: a new tool for cross-linguistic research in historical sociolinguistic

Drawing on its recent activity, the research network Circula would like to propose a panel on the methodological and technical strategies and challenges posed by the creation of an online database called CILROM, which integrates a number of different corpora of language columns from Romance-speaking areas. Language columns (chroniques de langage, cronache linguistiche, columnas sobre la lengua) form part of a journalistic genre which has, to date, been the focus of very few detailed studies. This genre consists of texts, produced by a single author and published regularly in the periodical press, which provide linguistic commentary on language issues that cause, in varying degrees, difficulty to those speakers who want to conform to 'good usage' or to prescriptive norms, and which thereby act as conduits of linguistic ideologies. They play a particularly important role in the production and reproduction of the ideology of the standard – thereby contributing to the maintenance of the notion of language purism – and they are also used to transmit other types of ideology or discourse.

The CILROM database will consist of comparable corpora of language columns published from the 1860s to the present day in different language communities in the French-, Italian- and Spanish-speaking areas of Europe and America, leading to comparable research areas, which examine either the content of these language columns or the discourse, argumentation and rhetoric employed in them.

In this panel, we will aim to show how the CILROM database can provide a suitable methodological and analytical framework which may contribute to a better and more systematic understanding of these language ideologies and their circulation. To this end, we will focus on the structural organization of this multi-corpora database as well as on its online interface which is based on a common coding system and which offers the database users various interactive forms of text retrieval and text coding in order to do cross-linguistic and diachronic research. We will also describe the content and the composition of the different sub-corpora as well as the collection, preparation and coding of the various language columns and the challenges posed by this work.

Structure of the panel:

Franz Meier is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Augsburg where he obtained his Ph.D. in sociolinguistics in 2016. He currently works on the metalinguistic discourse conveyed in francophone Belgian language columns. In this panel, he will focus on the technical aspects of the multi-corpora structure of the CILROM database.

Sabine Schwarze is the titular of the Chair of Romance Linguistics at the University of Augsburg and coordinates the activities of the Circula group. In this panel, she will focus on the collation and the usability of the sub-corpus of language columns from the Italian press (CILIt) and its integration in the multi-corpora database.

Olivia Walsh is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Nottingham.  She is working on the first comparative history of linguistic purism in France and Quebec (1865-2000), using language columns as source texts. In this panel, she will focus on the creation of an online corpus of language columns from the French press.

Carmen Marimón Llorca is Professor of Spanish Language in the Department of Spanish Philology at the University of Alicante. She works on rhetoric, discourse and Spanish lexicography, and is PI of the research project " Metalinguistic speech in the Spanish press (1940-present)”. In this panel, she will focus on the corpus as a tool for the diachronic study of linguistic ideologies.