Call for papers, September 2018

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 Europe House, Westminster, London (10 September) and Leuven University campus in Brussels, Belgium (12 September).

The 2014 conference opened up to an international audience the idea of approaching the conflict from a language 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 language 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, the Stockholm Conference, wartime jokes, 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; on how post-war literature of war reflected wartime language. 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 abstracts: 1 March, 2018.

Confirmation of acceptance: 21 March, 2018.


Our scientific panel currently comprises:

  • Marnix Beyen, University of Antwerp
  • Elke Brems, University of Leuven
  • Peter Doyle, London Southbank University
  • Hilary Footitt, Uinversity of Reading
  • Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Jonathon Robinson, British Library
  • Katya Rogatchevskaya, British Library
  • Professor Odile Roynette, Université de Franch-Comté
  • Tamara Scheer, University of Vienna
  • Tom Toremans, University of Leuven
  • Luc Vandeweyer, Rijksarchief Brussels
  • Antoon Vrints, University of Ghent


For early interest or questions, please contact

Julian Walker, Christophe Declercq

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