Conference September 2018

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See below for the conference programme and abstracts

Europe House, London, Mon 10 September

Smith Square, Westminster, SW1P 3EU

9 – 9.15 Introduction
9.15 – 10.05


Session 1 – post-war considerations

·       Mark Connelly, Professor of History, University of Kent – The language of guidebooks to the Western Front, 1919-1939

·       Lucinda Borket-Jones, Open University – Warring Tongues: Kultur versus culture in Ford Madox Ford’s wartime writing


10.05 – 10.30 Coffee break


11.15 – 12.40


Session 2   – Language and identity

Keynote    10.30 – 11.15

Amanda Laugesen, Director, Australian National Dictionary Centre – War words and the evolution of Australian remembrance of the Great War, 1919-1939. Paper by Amanda Laugesen and Véronique Duché, A. R. Chisholm Professor of French, The University of Melbourne

·       Julia Ribeiro, Université Paris Nanterre – The choice of poetic language and the establishment of identities and communities in the First World War

·       Mădălina Serbov, Ovidius University of Constanţa, România – The Lipoveni community in the Danube Delta

·       Fiona Houston, University of Aberdeen– Lexical development of the word ‘propaganda’

12.40 – 13.20 lunch
13.20 – 15.00


Session 3  – Violent language

·       Chris Kempshall, University of Sussex – Insults between the entente powers at the end of the war

·       Gergely Bödők, Clio Institute, Budapest – Laughed Death – Humour and jokes in Hungary during the First World War

·       Jonathon Green, independent scholar – Swearing in T E Lawrence’s The Mint 

15.00 – 15.15 Coffee
15.15 – 16.30


Session 4 – Language and literature

·       Cristina Ilea Rogojină, University Ovidius of Constanta, Romania – Romanian writers who fought in World War 1 and how the war influenced their writing

·       Dr Helen Brooks, University of Kent – Horror on the London Stage: The Grand Guignol Season of 1915

·       Professor Nevena Dakovic, Dept. of History and Theory, FDA/UoA, Belgrade  – Multimedia language of the great war: Stanislav Krakov

16.30 – 16.45 Coffee
16.45 – 18.15


Session 5 – Away from the trenches

·       Dr Anne Samson, The Great War in Africa Association – Language in the East Africa Campaign, 1914-1918

·       Guido Latré, Professor of English Literature and Culture, Louvain-la-Neuve – Languages and cultures in Van Walleghem’s war diaries

·       Meic Birtwistle, independent scholar – RHYFELGAN / WARSONG – Welsh Language Songs of the Great War

Discussion & winding up



KU Leuven, Brussels Campus, Weds, 12 September

26 Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères, 1000 Brussel

9.15 – 9.30 Introduction
9.30 – 10.25 Keynote Marguerite Helmers, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh – Veiled Language from the Second Battlefield of First World War Nursing
10.25 -10.45 coffee
10.45 – 12.00 Session 1 – Language to language

·       Luc Vandeweyer, Belgian National Archives – The role of the language border in Belgium in the expansionist plans of the German occupier

·       Gwendal Piégais, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest/University of Western Brittany – Interpreting and translating the  Russian language in the French army during the Great War

·       Stefano Bannò, University of Trento – Italian in the Berliner Lautarchiv


12.00 – 1.00

·       Signalling in the First World War – Vintage signals team demonstration


1.00 – 2.10 Keynote  Alison Fell, Professor of French Cultural History, University of Leeds – Culture clashes: Belgian refugees in Yorkshire
2.10 – 3.20 Session 2 – Voices of calm

·       Miguel Brandão, Faculty of Arts of Porto – Humour in Portuguese newspapers  (1914-1918) – what could war-related humour tell us about the Great War?

·       Dr Sarah Duncan, independent scholar – ‘Dear Little Scalliwag’:  Letters from a father to his children, 1915-16

·        Julian Walker, independent scholar  – ‘He was in the war but he never talked about it’; analysing veterans’ postwar silence

3.20 – 3.35 coffee
3.35 – 4.45 Session 3 – Voices of contention

·       Fabian van Samang, senior editor of the ‘Journal of the League for Human Rights’ – Armenia and the language of genocide

·       Hillary Briffa, Kings College London –  Melitensium Amor? An Analysis of Newspaper Reportage revealing the rise of Nationalist and anti-British Sentiment in Colonial Malta during the First World War


4.45 – 5.00 Final break
5.00 – 6.00 Session 4   – Hope and resolution

·       Steven Witt, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois –  Promoting the International Mind: Changing Global Public Opinion Through Books and Intercultural Exchange (1912 – 1938)

.        Javier Alcalde, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya – Pioneers of internationalism. Esperanto during the First World War

·       Lucy Moore, Leeds Museums & Galleries – Museums, languages & commemoration: a case study from Leeds

Final discussions


Conference abstracts

10 September

Lucinda Borkett-Jones: Warring Tongues: Kultur versus culture in Ford Madox Ford’s wartime writing

In this examination of the wartime propaganda of British author Ford Madox Ford, I explore how and why language was depicted as one critical heart of the conflict. Through comparison of his approach to German and French language and culture, I argue that Ford’s cosmopolitan outlook results in a nuanced and sometimes ambivalent form of propaganda, in which the identity of the cosmopolitan and the propagandist remain in tension.


Amanda Laugesen and Véronique Duché: The Afterlife of War Words (and the Creation of a New Language by Australian Returned Servicemen)

What happens to war words once war has ended? How does the story of the afterlife of war words (and the creation of a new vocabulary by returned servicemen) illuminate the aftermath of the First World War, the evolving identity of the ex-soldier, and the way the war was remembered and understood? This paper will provide some preliminary answers to these questions, primarily through an examination of the print culture of interwar Australia.


Julia Ribeiro S C Thomaz: “O belo dizem que é beau[1]. The choice of poetic language and the establishment of identities and communities in the First World War

The language one chooses to communicate in is directly related to the establishment of identity. This is exacerbated in poetry, where poets want the prosodic work on the language to be visible and where this very work can be interpreted as an affirmation of a lyrical “I” facing the world. In the context of war, the choice of the language used in poems can signify national allegiance, support of the war effort, and the establishment of a community with either allied countries or with all the soldiers experiencing combat regardless of nationality.

This paper will interrogate how the choice made by bilingual or multilingual poets of which language to write in reflects their position with regards to the First World War, and how these poets reflect metalinguistically upon that choice. It will also discuss how this choice establishes identities and “imagined communities”. The works examined will be poems in French, Breton and Portuguese.

[1] “What is beautiful they say is beau”, a verse from a poem by Portuguese combatant José Alagoinha.


Mādālina Serbov: The Lipoveni community in the Danube Delta

The study presents the circumstances regarding the settlement of Lipovenian-Russian communities, known as the people from the lime forest, in Romania, Dobrogea, the territory between the Danube and the Black Sea where most of them are living. We will present the causes that led the Lipovans to establish settlements far from their home-country. The presence of these Lipovenian-Russian communities settlements on the Romanian territory has influenced the Romanian cultural and linguistic environment in the area and, in turn, the Lipovan culture, traditions and language have been changed, despite the fact that they tried to avoid getting closer to the locals.

The purpose of this paper is to bring light upon the cultural adaptations produces in this Slavic ethnic group and to represent the influence of the Romanian language on the Lipovenian-Russian language, after the First World War.


Fiona Houston: Lexical development of the word ‘propaganda’

In his book on propaganda Jacques Ellul acknowledges the unsavoury connotation – which is a common place of today’s culture – surrounding those who write to influence a public. This is an interpretation which is frequently applied to the government propaganda writers of the First World War, yet to do so removes those writers from their context and applies modern understanding to a historical act. Over the last century since the Great War society has developed, causing a social linguistic shift. This shift has affected the way propaganda is understood, and propaganda in an Edwardian sense is simply not synonymous with propaganda as the term is interpreted and used today. My paper demonstrates how this word has undergone lexical development over the intervening years since the War, using corpus-based analysis to track the definition of the term ‘propaganda’ in Oxford English Dictionaries through the Antconc database software. I combine this quantitative research with in-depth exploration of propaganda theories from the Twentieth Century, and examples of First World War propaganda to ascertain when in history, if indeed a certain time was pivotal, this word began to mutate. This paper argues that better understanding of the development of this term reveals the contradictory nature of many modern-day attitudes to the relationship between literature and politics; the disconnect often at play between how we view our own modern culture and the judgements we are tempted to make about the past.



Chris Kempshall: Insults between the entente powers at the end of the war

Whilst interactions between allied soldiers could be warm and friendly during the First World War, they could also deteriorate into insults and recrimination. The specific language and wording of insults towards allied soldiers during the conflict gives an insight as to the motivations and understandings of the men from different countries. As relations within the alliance deteriorated in 1918 the insults used between soldiers betrayed the military, political, and social concerns of different soldiers. This paper will examine the nature of national stereotypes and how they impacted relations and insults between the soldiers of the Entente alliance.


Gergely Bödők: Laughed Death – Humour and jokes in Hungary during the First World War

“Where death does not come to tiptoe, but it’s banging, pounding, jerking around our ears: is there Humour too?” – asked the rhetorical question the readers of the Új Idők (New Times) Hungarian newspaper less than half a year after the outbreak of the First World War in January 1915. It soon emerged that war – and everything that the passed conflict meant in everyday life – actually has a beneficial for the development of Humour.

The Hungarian humour- and satire-literature had a boom in the late 50’s and early 60’s of the 19th century. Since then humorous cartoons and parodies have appeared on stage and periodicals in Budapest and in the countryside. The First World War, absurdly, had a beneficial effect on the development of domestic humour, and war-related themes have been a regular feature of stage performances and cabarets. On the front, among the soldiers, was general mutilating each other in the breaks of the battles, and the military leadership has created a separate front-theatre too. Using the cabaret performances presented here, they tried to summon the peace world of the home, and with the help of self-indulgent entertainment, solving the mental and psychological burdens on the soldiers. In these years, between the large number of caricatures, in many cases we encounter the magnified, finely simplified, idealistic and stereotyped representations of wartime opponents. This Phenomenon – the service of humour for State Propaganda – was general to almost all participants.

In my lecture I would like to present the humour in Hungary during the First World War, with particular regard to the entertainment of the front soldiers, the joking among them and war jokes spread in the Hinterland. Of course I would pay attention also to all the changes that public speaking reflected in the language of humour and joking.


Jonathon Green: Swearing in T E Lawrence’s The Mint

The Mint by Aircraftsman John Hume Ross, better known as T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, was written in 1925 but not published, in both censored and uncensored versions, until 1955. The book, which deals with the creation, i.e.’minting’ of new RAF airmen and ground crew, was exceptional for its time in the author’s use of slang. Not just the everyday terminology of the period, but in the wide range of obscenities, representing more than half of the cited slang vocabulary. This was not there to shock, but as part of a deliberate evocation of hell on earth. A hell into which Lawrence, a masochist, had plunged in a conscious effort to purge himself of his past. He used slang, rarely displayed so bleakly or nihilistically, as one of the primary engines of this unhappy but quite voluntary self-scourging.


Cristina Ilea (Rogojină): Romanian writers who fought in World War 1 and how the war influenced their writing

The time between the years 1916-1918 marked Romania in many ways due to its involvement in the First World War. Having a major impact on culture, language and literature alike, the First World War produced a generation of writers who fought or experienced it in a personal way and translated their trauma in words. This paper concerns the linguistic aspects that arose from three writers’ post-war work: Camil Petrescu, Liviu Rebreanu and George Topârceanu managed to paint an honest portrayal of the tragedies that define war as whole, in a profoundly human and dramatic manner. The unadorned style they embrace, which is free from grammatical restraints, serves to amplify the sensorial perception and describe from an authentic perspective the anxiety, chaos, scepticism, ethics and the tensions resulting from being always one step away from the great equalizer. Their works have served as a stark reminder of those dire times that would return none too soon and for the survivors, in the aftermath of the war, opened new pathways for the Romanian culture, which in an effort of innovation and exploration managed to achieve a deep intertwining with the western world.


Helen Brooks: Horror on the London Stage: The Grand Guignol Season of 1915

In the summer of 1915, the French Grand Guignol company performed a season at the Coronet theatre, London, to great popular acclaim. This paper will examine this season of plays and its subsequent transfer to the Garrick theatre, where English plays were added to the French repertoire. French-language plays were not unheard of in London, as the paper will demonstrate. Where this season was distinctive however was in providing an outlet for wartime anxieties to be expressed in ways that English-language plays could not, due to the restrictions of the Lord Chamberlain’s censorship. Examining two plays in particular – Sous la Lumiere Rouge and La Baiser dans la Nuit – the paper will demonstrate how the representations of death, disfigurement and claustrophobia central to these plays served to articulate and mediate contemporary anxieties and traumas.


Nevena Dakovic: Multimedia Language of the Great War – Stanislav Krakov

The aim of this paper is to analyse the languages(s) and rhetoric of the Great War in the multimedia – literary and the cinematic – oeuvre of Stanislav Krakov. The oeuvre of the journalist, artist, filmmaker and active officer of the Serbian Army encompasses his early novels, Through Tempest (Kroz buru, 1921) and The Wings (Krila, 1922): late autobiography The Life of the Man in the Balkans (Život čoveka na Balkanu, 1968);, and the film Calvary of Serbia (Golgota Srbije, 1940). All these – especially novels – are seen as “the works about the war in the fullest meaning of the word. Their topic is war, they were written in the war and their author was warrior” (Šaulić 1991).

Ideally each medium makes its own unique contribution to the rhetoric of the Great War (mainly depiction of the battlefield and suffering) but also the media languages interact, interweave and build into the language of multimedia. The “new language of the Great War” is based upon shared principles of: editing, narrative structure; comparative syntax; the evocation of images through words and vice versa (tackling the notion of cultural imagology (D.H. Pageaux 1981)).

Comparative analysis also charts the rhetorical and stylistic exchange of the (multi)mediated narratives of war. The avant-garde style of early novels evolves into cinematic language of the reconstructive fiction/documentary film, most important Serbian film about Great War; while cinematic language – its elements already recognisable in the avant-garde early novels – further shapes the style of Krakov’s late autobiography.


Anne Samson: Language in the East Africa Campaign, 1914-1918

The East Africa campaign of 1914-1918 involved at least 144 micro-nations, many with their own language. As a result of colonisation though, the dominant languages were English, German, French and Portuguese with Hindi, Swahili, Afrikaans and Dutch being secondary. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to scope the use of language using memoirs and diaries in an attempt to understand relationships and the resultant memory (or lack thereof) of the campaign.


Guido Latré: Languages and cultures in Van Walleghem’s war diaries

Achiel Van Walleghem’s war diary was written in a West-Flemish dialect, but the entries for 1917 have now been published in English by Guido Latré and Susan Reed. It is the most remarkable diary written by a civilian in the Flanders Fields. Guido Latré explores it as an echo chamber of languages spoken by both the locals and the wide range of foreigners marching through Van Walleghem’s parish.


Meic Birtwistle: RHYFELGAN / WARSONG – Welsh Language Songs of the Great War

RHYFELGAN / WARSONG – Welsh language songs were an important weapon used in the propaganda campaigns of the Great War. They were deployed by those groups mobilising both for and against the conflict. Written in prison, published in newspapers or performed at leave concerts in village halls they have been lost for almost a century.


12 September


Marguerite Helmers: Veiled Language from the Second Battlefield of First World War Nursing

In this presentation, I’d like to draw attention to rhetorically complex language and motives for representing the horrors of war, particularly the rhetorical techniques of paralepsis and apophasis. Both paralepsis and apophasis can be used by writers and speakers to bring a subject up indirectly, showing or telling while simultaneously writing that one will not be showing or telling. Where trauma is concerned, this may be akin to what Margaret Higonnet calls textual “mutism”; however, rather than leaving lacunae in the text, writers continue with their descriptions while denying their own authority for the representation. The purpose of my rhetorical analysis is to explore the relationship between writers and readers as constructed by the text.

Many writers have examined silences and the “indescribable” in published and unpublished war narratives. My primary examples will be drawn from Kate Finzi’s Eighteen Months in the War Zone, published in England by Cassell in 1916. Finzi’s is a well-known, but less studied, text from the First World War, and thus this research serves another purpose, to bring her writing back into focus.

Contemporary reviewers praised Finzi’s writing for its frankness and straightforward style–a “simple directness and unpremeditated air” according to the Illustrated London News. Major newspapers in England publishing war news reviewed the book, including The Sketch, the Illustrated London News, the Tatler, and the Bystander. Two newspapers printed excerpts, and the Tatler offered a full-page essay review. Several of the papers reviewed the book under the title “Women’s War Work.” Therefore, unlike other memoirs published during the war, Finzi’s memoir was widely publicized. However, reviewers focused on infrastructure–on how things worked in the war zone–rather than any personal testimony she might offer.

Although the memoir is based on her letters, it is clear that Finzi constructed a new audience for the book. Writing about nursing memoirs, Carol Acton calls attention to “the voyeuristic tendencies of [the] audience” who may be reading to “see” war and injury. Finzi acknowledges and decries such a need among her potential readers, commenting “What they want are descriptions of weeping gas victims and death-bed scenes . . . For such yarns there seems to be a great demand.” She frames her accusations by noting “I might pretend to be an authority,” but “I am not a true heroine.” Then, she follows with a description of a man whose “head was blown clean off at midday,” but whose body continued to convulse until sundown–and carefully points out that she herself didn’t witness this gruesome tragedy.

Such mixed motives tell truths of the war while simultaneously placing representation into the realm of story, where it may be more effectively contained, examined, or repressed.


Luc Vandeweyer: The role of the language border in Belgium in the expansionist plans of the German occupier

During the 19th century consciousness about the ‘nation’ was growing. Especially cultural elites in ‘little’ nations were building up this consciousness based on the traditional  language, enforced by cultural traditions and religion. In Flanders the ancient local  language  was Dutch. They were confronted with the dominance of French-speaking upper-class. From 1914 on the German empire was capable to occupy 95 % of Belgium. The occupiers  stimulated the Flemish movement  with the argument they could become the “Founding Fathers” of  a ‘Flemish  State’. Just like the Imperial German military in the east of Europe  stimulated Polish, Baltic, Finnish and Ukrainian movements against the Russian dominance. Whenever peace-talks should happen ‘ancient  language borders’ could be of strategic  value as arguments to enlarge  the newly formed satellite state of Flanders. From the German point of view it could be used to annex  the French coastal region of Pas-de-Calais to Flanders. In that case, the German Kriegsmarine would be capable to dominate the Dover-gap. French-speaking parts of Belgium could be used to compensate the French State and make it easier for Paris  to accept a peace treaty.


Gwendal Piégais: Interpreting and translating the Russian language in the French army during the Great War

In 1916, due to a diplomatic agreement between France and Russia, Russian troops were sent to fight with the French army on the Western front and on the Macedonian front. This Russian Expeditionary  force was hosted in Russian bases created on French soil. These bases were meant to centralize, manage and dispatch Russian troops and workers who were sent to the Western Front. From August 1916 to November 1917, these places were the materialization of the French-Russian Alliance and after the Revolution they became a rallying point for Russian émigrés, remaining soldiers and POWs leaving camps once Germany was defeated. The Russian bases — located in Mailly, Laval and even on the Macedonian front — were real challenges for the French authority and military leaders.

The implication of Russian troops on the Western and Macedonian Front and in French or colonial companies as workers required the mobilization of a great number of interpreters to deal with men who could barely write in their own language. The Alliance was no longer a matter settled between French and Russian diplomats who discussed and agreed in the common language of diplomacy, French in this case. The interpreters, more than any other officer, had a great importance in the bases daily life and in other activities such as postal control or mediation between the Russians and French authorities. Based on French and Russian military archives, this talk will expose the activities of these interpreters and how the French army tried to deal with the lack of skilled Russian speakers and on the other hand how this lack of personnel became an occasion for individual and collective strategies for both French and Russian interpreters to progress in the army’s hierarchy during and after the war.


Stefano Bannò: Wilhelm Doegen and the Königlich-preussische Phonographische
Kommission: translation, phonography and phonetics among the Italian prisoners
of the
German PoW camps of the Great War

The war granted to musicologists, anthropologists and linguists the opportunity to study comparatively the languages and cultures of near and – especially – distant and exotic populations, without undertaking strenuous and expensive expeditions around Europe and its colonies. In the German POW camps, research and survey activities began, covered by state secrecy and strongly supported by the Reich’s political institutions with substantial state funding and regulated through the creation of a specific phonographic commission: the Königlich-Preußische Phonographische Kommission.

Wilhelm Doegen was a leading figure in this context. Specialised in glottodidactics, he was a pioneer of phonography in glottodidactics and an advocate of the importance of teaching the living language by means of phonetic notation and phonography.
In addition to the phonetic transcriptions that accompany the sound recordings, we can also read the personal forms of the interviewees and the texts of the recordings written by the prisoners themselves. From 1st April 1920, all this material was merged into Lautarchiv, an archive that still has 4503 phonographic recordings in more than 250 languages and dialects of the world.

The British Library has already acquired and digitised the materials of the English section of the archive, but the systematic study of the Italian recordings has just begun.



Vintage Signals Team

The Vintage Signals Team will be showcasing the Heliograph, one of the major bits of kit for a Signaler in the First World War.

“Flag wagging … dot dash, or Umpty-iddy-umty as it was generally called.  This sort of life appealed to me and I lost no time transferring to the Signals section.” Said William Ogilvie a Canadian Signaler of his First World War career.

The Vintage Signals Team share the story of brave young men like William Ogilvie. And they use the Vintage equipment that he would have used to communicate messages around the Battlefields of the First World War.

Honorary Colonel Kenneth Lloyd is himself a former Signaler who created the Vintage Signals Team. This group are themselves former Signals and are a unique Team. He did this to honour and commemorate the brave young men who risked their lives to ensure that the message got through. HCol Lloyd spent much of his military career with Signals abroad before he retired from a military career in Canada. He will speak about Signalers, the equipment they used and the Codes they used to send secure messages.


Sarah Duncan: ‘Dear Little Scalliwag’:  Letters from a father to his children, 1915-16

From his postings in hospitals, field ambulance and the trenches, the Reverend Rupert Inglis wrote regularly to his wife and three children until his death on the Somme in September 2016. His language to each child varied according to their age and interests, showing how a father could engage each child in his experiences without frightening them by the horrors he witnessed.


Vintage Signals Team

The Vintage Signals Team will be showcasing the Heliograph, one of the major bits of kit for a Signaler in the First World War.

“Flag wagging … dot dash, or Umpty-iddy-umty as it was generally called.  This sort of life appealed to me and I lost no time transferring to the Signals section.” Said William Ogilvie a Canadian Signaler of his First World War career.

The Vintage Signals Team share the story of brave young men like William Ogilvie. And they use the Vintage equipment that he would have used to communicate messages around the Battlefields of the First World War.

Honorary Colonel Kenneth Lloyd is himself a former Signaler who created the Vintage Signals Team. This group are themselves former Signals and are a unique Team. He did this to honour and commemorate the brave young men who risked their lives to ensure that the message got through. HCol Lloyd spent much of his military career with Signals abroad before he retired from a military career in Canada. He will speak about Signalers, the equipment they used and the Codes they used to send secure messages.


Alison Fell: Culture clashes: Belgian refugees in Yorkshire

The term “Belgian refugee” had great cultural resonance in the UK in 1914 & 1915. It tended to denote for the UK population a victim of German “brutality”, and was frequently represented by images of fleeing and vulnerable women and children. This presentation explores the ways in which the meanings of both “Belgian” and “refugee” evolved – and were challenged – as a result of real-life encounters between Belgians and their British hosts as the war progressed.


Miguel Castro Brandão: War-Related Humour in Portuguese Newspapers during World War One (1914-1918)

Portuguese newspapers were rich in jokes, cartoons, and caricatures about the Great War tragedy: political and military characters, social and economic issues, the life in the trenches and many other aspects comprehending the conflict spectrum. In the past few years, I have worked with numerous Portuguese newspapers for my PhD thesis and I have collected plenty of humoristic content within these historical sources, which gave me an unexpected approach about this conflict. Humour about the world conflict is present in many ways in the searched newspapers: almanacs, jokes, cartoons, drawings, postcards, opinion texts, pamphlets, brochures and other platforms. The humour extracted from the Portuguese newspapers does not include just the national dimension, which could provide a new perspective about the foreign image of the belligerent countries within a minor power[3]. How other nations dealt with war-related humour? How different was war-related humour within the belligerent countries, comprehending his different types of governments and censorship? We will try to do so in this article.

The main goal of this proposal is to provide a new perspective about the war, exploring the public opinion and media power at the time, as well as the true effectiveness of the humoristic content within the belligerent countries societies. The analysis of the selected cartoons could link us to a multidimensional reflection about the Great War reality. Censorship also was very notorious in the Portuguese newspapers, since March1916, which reflects the instability and the heterogeneous factions of the new republic system (1910)[4]. Humour, in the selected newspapers, somehow survived to the censorship, but somehow changed after March 1916.

[1] History and Archaeology of Contemporaneous Conflicts.

[2] Portuguese Navy Research Centre.

[3] Imperial Germany declared war on Portugal on 9th March 1916, after Portugal took the German ships anchored in Portuguese ports since the beginning of the war. These ships were requested by Great Britain.

[4] Portuguese Republic was established in 1910.


Sarah Duncan: Dear Little Scalliwag: Letters from a father to his children, 1915-16

The Reverend Rupert Inglis was 52 years old when he went to Belgium as a Chaplain to the Forces in 1915. After several attempts to sign up, he had finally persuaded the Archbishop of Canterbury that he should play his part supporting soldiers rather than remaining with his parishioners in Kent. As a former Oxford blue and England rugby international, Rupert had been frustrated by not being able to serve his country when, with the recruiting sergeant, he had persuaded many of his parishioners to do so.

From his postings in hospitals, field ambulances and the trenches Rupert found time to write regularly to his wife Helen and his three children until his death on the Somme in September 2016.  The letters to his wife were later edited and privately published by her. But it is the markedly different language used and information given to each of his children that is of interest for this paper; describing the antics of animals and birds at the front to his 5 year old daughter; military action and daily life to his 10 year old son and his work in the hospitals with the sick and wounded to his elder daughter aged 15. While these letters and postcards inform each child of a variety of circumstances, as a collection they create a broader spectrum of war, as a child might understand it. More importantly, Rupert’s language illustrates how a father tried to engage his children in his own experiences without frightening them by the horrors he witnessed.

These valued letters from my grandfather remain with his descendants and have not been made public.


Julian Walker: ‘He was in the war but he never spoke about it’

Veterans’ post-war silence is one of the strongest linguistic tropes of the First World War. Rather than accept it at face value, we should consider the declining of making an utterance as a linguistic act. This paper will analyse some of the sources and backgrounds to the silence, questioning whether it actually was silence (and the implications of that), in what formats it was silence, and how it related to circumlocution and the creation of slang neologisms during the conflict. The paper will examine the notion that at the core of the experience of the war there were no words, and will look at the utterances immediately related to dying and killing.


Fabian van Samang: Armenia and the language of genocide

In my doctoral dissertation (Doodgewone woorden [Ordinary words], 2008), I argued that while attempting to explain the genesis of the Nazi Holocaust, one should take into account the specificity of the National Socialist discourse – a discourse that was characterized by an ever increasing vagueness on the semantic, pragmatic and intertexutal level. In my opinion, this ‘semantic enthropy’ made way for a variety of psychological mechanisms, semi-volutarily including some people in, while excluding others from the genocidal practice.

Over the last few decades, scholars have thoroughly studied and documented the masacre of the Armenian people, organized or sanctioned by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Analyzing the Ottoman discourse with reference to this persecuted minority might open some interesting perspectives. Is it possible to draw any significant comparison between National Socialist and Ottoman discourse? Did the Ottoman regime depict, verbally assault, discursively exclude its victims the same way National Socialism did? Did it also pave the way for the in- and exlusion of perpetrators and bystanders? And what does all this tell us about some controversial historical concepts, such as genocide, intention, guilt and punishment?


Hillary Briffa: Melitensium Amor? An Analysis of Newspaper Reportage revealing the rise of Nationalist and anti-British Sentiment in Colonial Malta during the First World War

The growth of industrialization and the enfranchisement of mass populations during the First World War led elites to become reliant on public consent to ensure support for the war effort. This paper discusses the historical legacy of the war, and provides insight into the wartime value of the oft-overlooked Malta, most notably with regards to the relationship between the colonizer and the colony. With Malta serving as a British fortress colony and subsequent full employment in the hospitals and dockyard, one would presume 1914-1918 to have been a fruitful period of economic prosperity and to have heralded a surge in public support. In actuality, this was not the case at grassroots level.

The application of qualitative discourse analysis to three Maltese newspapers of the era reveals a disparity between criticism of the colonizers by the educated elites, versus the working class Anglophone audience whose aspirations of upward mobility inspires them to be more apologetic and receptive in a bid to curry favour and employment in the changing local order. Maltese was still the ‘language of the kitchen’ and reserved predominantly for satirical lampoons which were concerned with the deteriorating domestic climate and quest for self-representation.

Through the study of these three newspapers from the period in question, it is revealed that wartime appeals to patriotism and attempts to embed pro-British propaganda in the colonial media are tempered by the decline in the standard of living, particularly the unavailability of basic commodities and rise in cost of living which the lower classes were unable to adapt to. This is confirmed time and again by articles which lamented the shortage of foodstuffs and petroleum, whilst stressing the plight of the poor and placing the blame on the Government. This decline in enthusiasm for the occupiers has been attributed to the growth of nationalism – better thought of as resentment at alien domination, without necessarily implying a sense of common interest and experience.

The outcome of the analysis reveals a dichotomy in the overarching reportage of local and international affairs: a united front is presented abroad against the peer competitor Germany, whilst domestically internal criticism is targeted at the Government over scarcity of resources, deteriorating sanitation and the intrinsic desire for Maltese representation. These elements are analysed and drawn together to highlight the reasons why – by the end of the war – a nationalistic surge resulted in the infamous Sette Giugno riots of 1919.


Steven Witt: Promoting the International Mind: Changing Global Public Opinion Through Books and Intercultural Exchange (1912 – 1938)

“Internationalism must become conscious” – Henry La Fontaine, 1911

Throughout the early 20th Century, the term “international mind” was used extensively to refer to the manner of thinking or mindset shared among members of the internationalist community. By the middle of the interwar era, the “international mind” had become a common trope to describe normatively the manner by which internationalists thought and reacted to cultural, racial, and linguistic differences within society and the world. The international mind had become symbolic of a perspective that aimed to bind the world together and unify an interconnected humanity with the same zeal that animated patriotism and nationalism. Through this campaign, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) disseminated and translated thousands of books to international relations clubs, public libraries, and scholars across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Reaching people around the world, these books were distributed with the intent to change global public opinion by exposing people to different cultures, linguistic traditions, and globalist perspectives on governance and trade. The international mind campaign served as a massive social psychological experiment that attempted to apply social constructivist theories of the self to the internationalization and civilization of nation-states. This paper will examine the history of the international mind campaign as it was promoted through the work of the CEIP. Through analysis of the rhetoric in popular media, correspondence in the CEIP archives, and the discourse seen in the International Mind Alcove library collections, this paper will explore the language employed to create the international mind and inform post-war internationalism.


Javier Alcalde: Pioneers of internationalism: Esperanto during the First World War

At the beginning of the 20 the century, the rise of nationalism among European powers on the one hand and the need for the internationalization of scientific research on the other had situated the debate about the auxiliary language among the main issues of the international agenda. It was a debate related to the intellectual dilemmas of the time, that went from scientific to spiritual issues, from national or ethnic identity to the so-called Jewish problem and, especially, the possibility of peace in international relations. But war broke out and Esperantists had to adapt to the new situation and perform various tasks either through the press, through humanitarian actions or in pacifist organizations. Additionally, many Esperantists were conscripted and many died in the conflict. In fact, the war dealt a severe blow to universalist ideals such as those of Esperanto. Subsequently, the interwar period would provide new prosperity to them.







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