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Language and History, Linguistics and Historiography

Interdisciplinary Approaches

Series:

Nils Langer, Steffan Davies and Wim Vandenbussche

What are the points of contact between the study of language and the study of history? What are the possibilities for collaboration between linguists and historians, and what prevents it? This volume, the proceedings of an international conference held at the University of Bristol in April 2009, presents twenty-two articles by linguists and historians, exploring the relationship between the fields theoretically, conceptually and in practice. Contributions focus on a variety of European and American languages, in historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present day. Key themes at the intersection of these two disciplines are the standardization and classification of languages, the social and demographic history of medieval and early modern Europe, the study of language and history ‘from below’, and the function of language in modern politics. The value of interdisciplinary collaboration is demonstrated in a wide-ranging set of case studies, on topics including language contact in Northern and Central Europe, the relationship between peninsular and transatlantic Spanish, and new approaches to the recent histories of Nicaragua, Luxembourg and Bulgaria. The volume seeks out the interdependencies between the two fields and asks why exchanges between linguists and historians remain the exception rather than the rule.