Call for Papers: Languages and the First World War (2) Conference, 2018

Soldier reading newspaper a

Following our successful first international conference on Languages and the First World War (University of Antwerp and the British Library, June 2014), two successful books of essays, and the following that has been built up, the organisers are pleased to announce the second Languages and the First World War conference for 10 and 12 September 2018.

The 2018 conference will be held at University College London (10 September) and a University in Belgium (either Antwerp or Leuven, 12 September – to be confirmed very soon).

The 2014 conference opened up to an international audience the idea of approaching the conflict from a linguistic viewpoint; while we imagined this falling into two main areas – developments within languages, and influences between languages – the papers delivered and subsequent essays in the volumes widened the scope considerably, to include the rise of interpreting as a profession, the ideas of reticence and withheld communication in soldiers’ letters, the role of soldiers’ publications in the management of dialect, the racial, ethnic, gender and political dynamics of languages, dialects and rhetorics, and the collecting of linguistic data during and after the war.

We hope that the papers offered in the 2018 conference will widen still further the scope of the subject. While 2018 as a centennial suggests a concentration on the end of the war, we do not wish to limit ourselves to the Armistice and the aftermath, as the period 2014-2018 has given the opportunity for so much in-depth exploration of topics that have arisen from the wealth of conferences, books, papers, symposiums and the opening up of archives and collections.

Papers are invited that discuss the causes, progress and aftermath of the war from a linguistic point of view – dialect, slang, swearing, officialese, the language of mourning, the language of international post-war negotiation, interpreting, multilinguism, propaganda, popular media, correspondence, graffiti, the language of regimental diaries, memoirs and phrasebooks, all will be considered. We would particularly welcome contributions on the Balkan languages, Turkish, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Portuguese, Arabic, Indian languages, African languages, Chinese, and Japanese; on the linguistic aspects of the Versailles Conference; and the language of pilgrimages, battlefield guides, commemorations and memories. The organisers are equally interested in proposals for panels.

As with the first conference the organisers aim to publish at least one volume stemming from conference contributions. The first conference papers were published by Palgrave-MacMillan, who have expressed interest in publishing further texts.

Deadline for submission of panels: 15 December, 2017.

Deadline for abstracts: 1 March, 2018.

Confirmation of acceptance: 21 March, 2018.

A more detailed Call for Papers will be out mid-October and further details will be available here. For early interest or questions, please contact

Julian Walker, Christophe Declercq

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