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Biscriptality – sociolinguistic and cultural scenarios

Conference at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
18–20 September 2011

At this conference, representatives of very different philological disciplines – from antiquity to modern times, from Africa through Europe to East Asia – gathered their expertise about sociolinguistic situations with two (or more) scripts for one language. The aim was to make generalizations about the social factors influencing script choice on the basis of a classifaction of such situations.


The conference was sponsored by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities as a Conference for Young Researchers.

Conference programme

Sunday, 18 September 2011
15:00–18:00 Sightseeing walk around the town (with special regard to the history of writing)
Meeting point: Café Knösel, Haspelgasse 20
from 19:00 Warming-up at Kulturbrauerei, Leyergasse 6
Monday, 19 September 2011: Historical case studies
9:00–9:10 Hermann H. Hahn (President of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)
Welcome address
9:10–9:30 Daniel Bunčić (Tübingen)
Conference opening
9:30–10:10 Alexandra von Lieven (Berlin)
Hieroglyphs and Hieratic – what is the difference and does it matter?
10:10–10:50 Sandra Lippert (Tübingen)
Hieratic vs. Demotic – changing uses of two Egyptian cursive scripts (with an excursus on the development of Old Coptic)
11:20–12:00 Yukiyo Kasai (Berlin)
Multiscriptality in Old Turkish – Relationship between scripts and religions
12:00–12:40 Terje Spurkland (Oslo)
Runes and Roman script in medieval Scandinavia – complementary entities or cross-over phenomena?
13:00–14:00 Working lunch for the active participants at Goldener Falke, Hauptstr. 204
14:20–15:00 Marina Bobrik (Berlin) and Aleksej Gippius (Moscow)
Sprachliche Idiome und orthographische Systeme im alten Novgorod
(Linguistic varieties and orthographic systems in Old Novgorod)
15:00–15:40 Achim Rabus (Freiburg)
Von Diglossie zu Diglyphie? Sozio- und Schriftlinguistik des Russischen im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert
(From diglossia to diglyphia: Russian sociolinguistics and linguistics of writing in the 17th and 18th centuries)
16:10–16:50 Ekaterina Kislova (Moscow)
“Church Slavonic” and “civil” orthography of the Russian language in manuscripts and printed texts of the 18th century
16:50–17:30 Jürgen Spitzmüller (Zürich)
The ‘typographical manifesto’. Blackletter/Roman typeface variation as a social practice in Germany
17:40–18:20 Anastasia Antipova (Tübingen)
Kyrillisches vs. lateinisches Alphabet in der Geschichte des Weißrussischen
(Cyrillic vs. Latin alphabet in the history of Belarusian)
ab 18:45 Reception in the piano nobile of the Academy
Tuesday, 20 September 2011: Case studies of present situations
9:00–9:40 Daniel Bunčić (Tübingen)
Zweischriftigkeit in Gegenwart und Geschichte des Serbokroatischen
(Biscriptality in past and present of Serbo-Croatian)
9:40–10:20 Carmen Brandt (Halle)
Script as a momentum of identity formation in South Asia
10:50–11:30 Helma Pasch (Cologne)
Alte Schriften können überleben, wo neue keine Chance haben. Zweischriftige Situationen im subsaharanischen Afrika
(Old secondary scripts may survive where new ones have no chance. Biscriptal situations in Sub-Saharan Africa)
11:30–12:10 Barbara Sonnenhauser (Munich)
Crimean Tatars return to Latin?
13:50–14:30 Sandra Birzer (Regensburg)
Sociolinguistic specificities of Russian transliterated e-mail messages
14:30–15:10 Henning Klöter (Bochum)
Digraphia and diorthographia in Greater China
15:40–16:20 Ihar Klimaŭ (Minsk)
Taraškevica vs. Narkamaŭka – the case of a bicultural conflict in Belarusian and in Belarus
16:20–17:00 Paul Rössler (Regensburg)
Variants in contemporary German orthography and their status in print media
17:10–17:20 Wolfgang Raible (Freiburg)
Keynote summary
17:20–18:00 Final discussion
Moderation: Daniel Bunčić
from 19:00 Closing Dinner for those who have not left yet at Brauhaus Vetter, Steingasse 9