The ‘Methods’ series of conferences.
Methods in Dialectology conferences have been taking place every three years since 1972, at venues generally alternating between Europe and Canada. Beginning as a forum for the discussion of methodological issues in dialect research, they have steadily expanded their scope and now encompass the entire range of matters of regional, historical, and social language variation. Any and all languages are included within the compass of the Methods series.
Transitions: Theme for Methods in Dialectology 14, August 2-6, 2011
Dialectologists have long grappled with how best to represent transition zones which occur between two (or more) established dialect areas and share some features with each while also belonging "in between" or on a dialect continuum. Whether we use Chambers & Trudgill's typology of "mixed, fudged and scrambled lects", or some other means to represent transitional varieties, the issue of transition zones is one which crops up in many kinds of dialect studies from many different language families. Outside of linguistic geography, other areas of variationist linguistics also have to deal with transitional data which do not fall neatly into preconceived social categories.
Dialect studies are also very often transitional in other senses: dialect surveys may take a long time to complete, being begun by one generation of researchers and finished by another. The issue of transitions between generations of scholars is thus pertinent, especially since methodological training and theoretical perspectives may change significantly between generations. Furthermore, the study of dialects has seen many transitions between technologies, both in data-gathering and in the processing of data. From pen-and-paper surveys through digital recording, and from hand-drawn maps to sophisticated statistical treatments with GIS automated cartography, our discipline continues to undergo methodological and technological transitions.
Regardless of where you situate yourself along any dialect or social continuum, and whatever your position may be with respect to transitions between generations and technologies, you will find at Methods a broad spectrum of scholars to engage with on a wide range of research in dialectology. Abstracts are being accepted which are related to the theme of Transition or not, as well as for specific calls related to a series of workshops.