Universiteit Leiden

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From Gothic to OMG: the 21st conference on English historical linguistics comes to Leiden

The largest international conference on English historical linguistics is coming to Leiden. From 7 June to 11 June 2021, the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) organises the International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL-21). Due to Covid measures, the conference takes place entirely online for the first time.

‘The conference is meant for anyone with an interest in the rich history of the English language,' says university lecturer Thijs Porck, one of the organisers of the conference. 'Students, lecturers and professors from all over the world will be present to present their research and to listen to presentations.'

Additional measures

The fact that the conference is held online makes it easier for some academics to participate: they do not have to travel long distances to attend. At the same time, time differences create challenges. ‘We have had to take a number of additional measures,' Porck explains. 'The presentations will be available a week in advance as pre-recorded lectures, for example, and we have scheduled the live discussion sessions at times suitable for most time zones - we start at 1pm, instead of 9am, for example. Because the event takes place online, we have also hired a large number of student assistants to help is out with the digital support for the conference.'

Range of topics

Ultimately, all these measures should ensure that the attendees can enjoy over a hundred presentations on a wide range of topics. Attention will be paid to, for instance, Old English morphosyntax and the Old Germanic sister languages of English, but also to more modern aspects of the English language. Where do abbreviations like LOL and OMG in English on the internet come from, for example?

International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL-21) takes place from 7 to 11 June. The participation fee is fifty euros. The full programme can be found here.

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