Minor Languages in Europe during the Late 19th and the 20th Century: Strategies of Coping with Marginalization

Minor Languages in Europe during the Late 19th and the 20th Century: Strategies of Coping with Marginalization

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and Collegium Carolinum, Research Institute for the History of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Munich
Collegium Carolinum, Hochstr. 8, 81669 München
Vom - Bis
31.01.2019 -
Niedhammer, Martina

Although an intrinsic part of historical research, language itself is not in the very focus of historiography, but rather a by-product of studying identity building, e. g. in the context of nationalism or regionalism. This is particularly the case when it comes to standardization processes that can reveal a lot about strategies of converting a language into one that “counts”. The workshop seeks to deepen reflection on how languages that are treated as “minor” because they lack either a stable orthography and grammatical norms or prestigious fields of application (e. g. science or literature) cope with the threat of cultural or political marginalization. The main examples which are discussed from a historiographic and philological perspective refer to Eastern Europe (Russian, Yiddish, Belarusian), but the workshop also deals with two Western European cases (Occitan and Catalan). Opening key note by Michael D. Gordin (Princeton); funded by the LMU Mentoring Program.


January 31, 9.30am to 5pm

Close Reading

Michael D. Gordin (Princeton)
Hydrogen Oxygenovich: Crafting Russian as a Language of Science in the Late Nineteenth Century

Martina Niedhammer (Munich)
Belarusian and Yiddish Scientific Terminology during the 1920s and the Early 1930s: A Reluctant Cooperation between Vilna and Minsk?

Presentation of Projects

Francesca Zantedeschi (Bussolengo)
From Minority to (Failed) Fully Fledged National Language: The Contrasting Destinies of Occitan and Catalan

Carmen Reichert (Augsburg)
Overcoming Ridiculousness: Nathan Birnbaum’s and Y.Y. Trunk’s Answers to Marginalization?

Lea Schäfer (Düsseldorf)
Dialectology at a Distance: The Survey of the Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry (1959–1972)


Martina Niedhammer

Collegium Carolinum, Hochstr. 8, 81669 München