Papers from the Fourteenth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, 2011
Foreword: Looping Back
The fourteenth meeting of the International Conference on Methods in Dialecto- logy returned to the site of Methods III in 1978, the University of Western Onta- rio in London, Ontario. The crowd of almost 300 scholars that assembled at Western in 2011 came from Europe, Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and North Ame- rica, and they made a stunning contrast to the small coterie that had gathered there under the Methods banner 33 years before. Early meetings had a much more homogeneous look in every sense of the word. The Methods conference did not stay small or homogeneous for very long. The founders had chanced upon a template that humanists from all over the world found irresistible. The essential lay-out, then as now, was a midsummer conference every three years in a bucolic setting, or at least in a university with easy access to open country. A mid-week half-day excursion broke up the daily regimen of presentations. Evenings were free and highly sociable. Word spread quickly about the ambiance of the conference, and its quality. In those early days, the winds of change were blowing strongly in dialecto- logy. At Methods IV in Victoria in 1981, William Labov was the invited speaker and the participants were a heady mix of sociolinguists, language historians, and dialectometrists, as well as dialect geographers. The broader constituency brought with it bids for hosting Methods overseas. In 1987, Methods VI was held in Bangor, Wales, and since then the conference has alternated between Canada and Europe....
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