Terralingua “returns to its roots” (a CFP)

Terralingua's logoLangscape, the magazine of the NGO Terralingua, just extended the deadline of the call for abstracts for its spring issue. Extracts from the call (with February 7 deadline!) are copied below, but what caught my eye about this particular issue was how its theme, “Voices of the Earth,” was framed as “going back” to Terralingua’s roots.

I first learned of Terralingua shortly after it was founded in the late 1990s when its slogan was “Partnerships for Linguistic and Biological Diversity” (the call copied below explains how the organization’s name comes from linking those two concepts). Its active concern with connections between languages and biodiversity was, if not unique, certainly uncommon. At the time I found it a source of inspiration for some of my evolving thinking about connections among agriculture, language, environment, education, and technology.

Terralingua and its director, Dr. Luisa Maffi, have continued to do interesting research in the area now known as “biocultural diversity.” Langscape is one of the organization’s activities.

In any event, it is good to see the focus of the upcoming issue of Langscape on the linguistic diversity/biodiversity links within the larger system. The following is adapted from the full call for abstracts (refer to the full call if you are considering submitting).


Call For Abstracts

Langscape Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2016
“Voices of the Earth”

Abstract Submission Deadline: EXTENDED TO February 7, 2016

This year, Terralingua turns twenty! We came into the world two decades ago, with a unique mission: to sustain biocultural diversity – the interconnected and interdependent diversity of life in nature and culture.

To celebrate this milestone, we are “going back to our roots” with the theme for the next issue of Langscape Magazine (Spring 2016): “Voices of the Earth”.

In 1996, we chose the name Terralingua to suggest two things at once: the language of the Earth – the voice of Mother Nature; and the languages of the Earth – the many voices of the world’s diverse peoples, which have evolved through intimate interaction with the Earth in particular places. When that bond is strong, the Earth is healthy, and so are we. When we lose that bond, the Earth is weakened, and we are weakened with her.

Here are some possible (but not the only!) questions for the “Voices of the Earth” theme:

  • How are language and the environment connected? How is language shaped by human relationships with nature, and how is nature shaped by language?
  • How does each language reflect the specific natural features of the place in which it evolved? How does it express people’s relationship with nature in that particular place?
  • How do words, stories, myths, oral histories, and other verbal expressions convey traditional knowledge and wisdom, cultural values, and spiritual beliefs about the link between people and nature?
  • Is there an “inner language” that connects us to the Earth and bonds us to specific places? What happens to our individual and collective well-being when that bond is broken?
  • How does language loss affect our relationship with nature? And how does environmental change affect the resilience of languages?
  • What do we do to reawaken a language when its voice is fading?
  • What is the voice of the Earth telling us about our environmental predicament? And what are the voices of the Earth saying about it?

Contributions to Langscape may take different forms, either text-driven or artwork-driven…

Please submit your Abstract – your idea for a contribution, in 1-2 paragraphs maximum – NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 7, 2016, using the submission form accessed through the “Submit Here” link below. Please attach your document in Word .doc or .docx formats only.
After reviewing all abstracts, we will let you know by February 9 whether we would like to invite you to submit a full contribution.

PLEASE NOTE: An invitation to submit a full contribution does not mean that your contribution is already accepted for publication. It means that we are interested in your idea and would like to see your full submission.

IMPORTANT: Be aware that Langscape does not publish formal scientific or technical papers. We seek contributions that, while based on solid scholarship, express concepts in accessible language and in a literary rather than academic style. Tell a story!

[Full call for abstracts] [Page for uploading submissions]

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