JEWISH LANGUAGES AND LOCALES IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD
University of Maryland, College Park
Sunday, December 2 and Monday, December 3, 2007
The Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies is organizing a conference on the
intersection between globalization and Jewish languages and dialects today. As
smaller languages rapidly disappear worldwide, dominant languages spread. This
phenomenon also has an impact on Jewish communities. Globalization leads to complex
identities as many Jews were born in one place, grew up in another and have children
in yet a third place. What are the linguistic implications for the individual?
And, at the level of nation and community, there has been a paradigm shift as
distinctly Jewish languages such as Yiddish and Ladino and other Judaized languages,
which once functioned alongside national and local languages dwindle or change roles
and as the spread of English as a transnational language and the evolving roles for
Hebrew influence the parameters of Jewish communities. Papers from various
disciplinary perspectives are sought addressing some of the following questions.
• How have changes in communication and travel patterns influenced how Jewish
communities use languages?
• What are the linguistic ramifications of major geographic or demographic shifts,
including Russia, France and South America?
• Does community bilingualism or multilingualism persist?
• Which languages are being retained, which are disappearing, which have been
objects of language revitalization and which have become marginal? What are the
present uses of traditional Jewish languages, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and
• What are the roles of Hebrew and English internationally?
• How do transnational religious, especially ultra-orthodox groups maintain identity
• What new language varieties are Jews creating and how are they developing? Are
Jewish varieties of English, Spanish and other languages following patterns similar
to the development of traditional Jewish languages like Yiddish or Ladino? What
about any variants of English, Russian and Spanish?
• In new centers of Jewish life, what constitutes acceptable or desirable speech and
which are the high status languages and dialects?
• Affordable international travel have led to increases in tourism, pilgrimages and
new travel patterns; “Birthright ISRAEL”, religious assorted pilgrimages, heritage
travel, and the phenomenon of Israeli post-army out-migration to remote places. How
does language figure in these?
Guidelines: Abstracts (500-600 words) must be provided via email, by April 15.
Please send as a Microsoft Word document as an attachment and provide the
submitter’s name, affiliation, and contact information.
For further questions E-mail: email@example.com
Joshua Fishman is keynote speaker and singer Chava Alberstein will perform and
discuss her film. Film: “ Too Early to be Silent, Too Late to Sing”
Jewish Studies Program
0142 Holzapfel Hall
301 405 0264 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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