Thursday, September 01, 2016

Conference: Act of the Scribe: Interfaces between scribal work and language use

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Act of the Scribe: Interfaces between scribal work and language use. A Workshop

Date: April 6–8, 2017 (+ excursion on Sunday, April 9, to be informed later)
Venue: The Finnish Institute at Athens (Zitrou 16, GR-117 42 Athens)

Finnish Institute
The project Act of the Scribe (Academy of Finland) organises a workshop for scholars discussing various aspects of scribal work and how these relate to language use and language change in Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Currently, we see a growing interest on scribal practices and their role in language change, and an on-going tradition of (socio)linguistic studies has been established in the field of Classical languages. However, some fields of study are still under-represented and hinder the ability to form a comprehensive general picture of the linguistic situation at hand; for example, studying the multilingual situation in especially Egypt from the Ptolemaic to the Byzantine times continues to be challenging due to a gap between the disciplines of Greek and Latin on the one hand, and Demotic and Coptic research on the other. One of the aims of this workshop is to promote dialogue between the various written languages in Antiquity to be able to enhance the picture of ancient scribal practices. The general focus of the workshop lies in studying the interface between scribal work, including its technical properties, and language use.
Confirmed speakers with provisional titles include
  • Rodney Ast (Heidelberg): Professional Literacy in Late Antiquity
  • Klaas Bentein (Ghent): Documentary papyri as “multimodal” texts: Some observations on the interrelationship between language choice, linguistic register and handwriting in the Nepheros archive (III – IV AD)
  • Jenny Cromwell (Copenhagen): Terminological and palaeographic innovations among scribes in the administration of early Islamic Egypt
  • Katherine McDonald (Cambridge): The goddess Reitia and learning to write in the Veneto
  • Timo Korkiakangas (Oslo): Relationship between spelling correctness and morphosyntactic conservativeness – a corpus study of early medieval Italian charters
  • Tonio Sebastian Richter: TBA
  • MariaChiara Scappaticcio (Naples): A Babrius’ Latin translation (P.Amh. 26): authors, scribes, and ‘mistakes of mistakes’
  • Joanne Stolk (Oslo/Ghent): Scribal corrections in Greek papyri from Egypt
  • Nicholas Zair (Cambridge): Old-fashioned spelling and sub-elite education in the Roman Empire
We invite interested scholars to submit abstracts (max. one page) by October 31, 2016 at the latest (actofscribe-athens2017 [at] helsinki.fi). Topics that are of interest to the workshop include, but are not limited to, e.g.
  • scribal education in Graeco-Roman Antiquity
  • writing and copying methods affecting linguistic output
  • written standards, substandard and register
  • cross-cultural effect on second language use: transfer of linguistic elements, scribal practices and orthographic conventions
  • the role of the scribe in language change and development
  • the varying treatment of loanwords in contact situations
Organizing committee : Martti Leiwo – Sonja Dahlgren – Hilla Halla-aho – Marja Vierros

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