Of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth, 50 of them were represented in papers delivered at the International Conference on Language and Territory in the late summer of 2010.
The conference, held at Laurentian University, was attended by more than 500 people from around the world. It was the largest social sciences and humanities conference ever held at the university.
“It was as broad as any language and as broad as people could interpret the concept of territory,” said Laurentian French professor Julie Boissonneault.
Nearly four years after the conference wrapped up, 45 of the papers presented at the conference have been published by the Human Sciences Monographic Series.
Three volumes, entitled “Language and Territory,” which contain the 45 papers, were launched May 1 at a reception held at the J.N. Desmarais Library at Laurentian.
Printed in French and English, they explore the areas of language planning, urban social linguistics and literary spaces.
Boissonneault and fellow Laurentian French professor Ali Reguigui, who together edited the publications, said it took this long to have them printed because all of the papers had to be peer reviewed first.
“Every paper is submitted to at least two anonymous evaluators which will determine the value of the paper itself,” Boissonneault said.
Graham Fraser, Canada's commissioner of official languages, was on hand for the launch.
Although he attended the International Conference on Language and Territory four years ago, he said he wasn't able to take in all of the lectures, and is looking forward to poring over the publications.
“I think there's some really important contributions in terms of literature, sociolinguistics and language rights,” Fraser said.
He said he's glad the content of the conference has been preserved for posterity.
“All too often conferences happen, people make presentations, but you're never sure what happens to those presentations afterwards,” Fraser said. “They either become part of somebody's CV or they sort of vanish into the air.”
Anyone interested in purchasing the publications is asked to email Reguigui at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first two volumes cost $30 each, and the third is $20. The publications are also available to the public at Laurentian's library.