Diplomacy, diplomats and language choice in eighteenth-century Europe. Panel proposal call

International Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth-century Studies
20.12.2018 - 30.01.2019
Dr Vladislav Rjeoutski

The eighteenth century witnessed the rise of French as the main diplomatic language in Europe. Which factors explain the ascendancy of French in this field? Among the reasons for this success, two have been mentioned : the problems of communication among the diplomats of various European countries and the need to find a common language for negotiations in order to avoid misleading differences in the interpretation of terminology. However, other important factors can be evoked, for example the social origin of diplomats and their cultural capital. Indeed, many diplomats were of noble origin and their use of a language for social intercourse and for the education of their children could have a considerable impact on their choice of language for carrying out their diplomatic duties. National linguistic policies could also have an impact on the language choice of diplomats.
During this panel, on the basis of primary sources, we will explore different cases which will show how and why diplomats preferred one language to another in their external (exchanges with diplomats of other countries) and internal (exchanges with diplomats of their own country and with their ministry) correspondence. The range of topics which are of interest for this panel includes, but is not limited to:
- the influence of private language practice on the choice of language in the sphere of diplomacy;
- national linguistic policies and their impact on the linguistic practice of diplomats;
- pan-European trends in language choice in the sphere of diplomacy;
- linguistic differences between the external and internal correspondence of diplomats; between diplomatic exchanges and other administrative correspondence;
- the influence of diplomats’ language use on the linguistic practice of the elite society of their countries of residence;
- diplomatic terminology and language choice.

Send your proposals (about 250 words) before January 15 to the following address: rjeoutski@gmail.com The decision will be notified by January 20.

The deadline for the submission of proposals for the conference is Friday February 1, 2019.

Panel’s convenor: Dr Vladislav Rjeoutski, Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Moscow.


Vladislav Rjeoutski


Diplomacy, diplomats and language choice in eighteenth-century Europe. Panel proposal call, 20.12.2018 – 30.01.2019 Edinburgh, in: H-Soz-Kult, 21.12.2018, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-39028>.
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