MULTILINGUALISM RESEARCH GROUP

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The Multilingualism Research Group

Since 2008, the Multilingualism Research Group has organized a series of annual meetings on the topics of "Multilingualism, Linguae francae and History of Knowledge" in different linguistic and chronological contexts, hosted by various scholarly institutions of Europe and Asia.

       (joint paper by Braarvig, Rossi and Sadovski – published in the edited volume 

       Word formation, grammar and lexicology, Hamburg: Baar-Verlag 2020).

 

The Multilingualism Research Group is an institutional cooperation between the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), the Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East (ISMEO) and the Norwegian Institute of Philology (PHI).

 

Its Directive Committee includes Jens E. Braarvig (President of the World Philology Union / Director of the PHI), Adriano V. Rossi (President of the ISMEO), Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Gebhard J. Selz (University of Vienna) and Markham J. Geller (University College of London / Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin).

 

The Speaker of the Multilingualism Research Group is Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences).

The circle of partner institutions engaged in the scholarly debates within the Multilingualism Research Group has been enlarging itself constantly ever since the first meetings in 2008 and 2009: The forum unites partners from the Norwegian Institute of Philology (Jens E. BRAARVIG and Amund BJORSNES), the TOPOI Cluster at the Freie Universität and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin (Florentina BADALANOVA, Mark GELLER), the University of Bologna (Antonio PANAINO), the University of Verona (Paola COTTICELLI), of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of Munich (Olav HACKSTEIN, Peter-Arnold MUMM), the DARIOSH Project at L 'Orientale University of Naples (Adriano ROSSI) and the University of Viterbo (Ela FILIPPONE), of "La Sapienza" University of Rome (Mauro MAGGI, Maria Carmela BENVENUTO and Flavia POMPEO), the University of Vienna (Gebhard SELZ and his team, in coordination with the European project group Classifiers), and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Bert FRAGNER, Florian SCHWARZ, Velizar SADOVSKI).

More information about the Multilingualism Research Group can be found in the introductions to the published books (see further below on the present page).

Previous Conferences 

The idea of founding an international research cluster specifically concerned with themes and topics of Multilingualism, mainly in pre-modern Europe and Asia, was first expressed during a meeting on 2.9.2008 at the Rila Monastery (Bulgaria) of scholars participating in the Sixth International Conference of the Melammu Project with the title Melammu: the Ancient World in an Age of Globalization, held in Sofia, 1–3.9.2008. The new initiative was set in motion almost immediately and three specific conferences of the (still nameless) group consisting at that time of nineteen researchers from seven countries took place in the year after.

 

The first of these meetings was convened by Jens E. Braarvig and † Malcolm Hyman with the general subject of Multilingualism, Linguae Francae, and the Global History of Religious and Scientific Concepts, at the Norwegian Institute at Athens, 2–5.4.2009.

 

The second event took place within the symposium Classification as a Hermeneutic Tool convened by Gebhard J. Selz, one of the leading founding members of the Group, at the Institut für Orientalistik of the Vienna University, Vienna, 2.11.2009.

 

A third panel, Multilingualism in Ancient Iran, was organized by Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Adriano V. Rossi (ISMEO) and Ela Filippone (La Tuscia University of Viterbo) within the Sektion “Historische Sprachwissenschaft” convened by Oswald Panagl and Velizar Sadovski, in the frame of the Österreichische Linguistiktagung 2009, Salzburg, 5–6.12.2009. 

 

The constitutive assembly of the Multilingualism Research Group took place in Vienna, in the framework of our fourth meeting, the International Conference Multilingualism in Central Asia and Middle East from Antiquity to Early Modern Times, convened by the Institute of Iranian Studies and the International Relations Department of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 1–3.3.2010, organized by Jens E. Braarvig, Markham J. Geller, Adriano V. Rossi, Gebhard J. Selz, Velizar Sadovski, and Florian Schwarz.

 

Ever since, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, together with the ISMEO and the Norwegian Institute of Philology have been functioning as the three major institutions coordinating the regular meetings of more than twenty different universities and academies from all over the world engaging in this initiative. The scholars participating in the Founding Assembly at Vienna decided to jointly organize conferences and discuss various topics of this subject on a yearly base and with changing host institutions. 

 

The main idea behind these initiatives is the observation that ancient societies display, in varying degrees, a multilingual environment. Among the numerous studies dealing with this issue, the social implications of multilingualism have not yet received much attention. Therefore, central topics of the conferences that took place so far were: cognitive aspects of the relation between language and social experience in the dialectic conditions of a multilingual state; religious experience and social pragmatics in the context of ancient societies; attempts to impose the language of the elite upon the dependant classes, including its application for ‘imperialistic’ purposes; studying the relevance of linguistic forms of expression for the questions of social message, institutional communication and ‘invention of traditions’ within a specific socio-political system; social dimensions of literary genres (e.g. hymnal poetry vs. epic poetry in the field of tension between social strata such as priests vs. kings-warriors); ways of addressing the use and misuse of languages for establishing group identities, focussing on antagonistic social groups on various levels of a society.

 

The fruit of this ambitious outline of topics was a series of conferences held in Vienna (2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017, 2018), Athens (2009), Berlin (2010, 2011, 2019), Mamaia (2012), Marburg (2011), Munich (2010), Münster (2013), Oslo (2017, 2019), Rome (2019), Salzburg (2009), Sofia (2008, 2012), Verona (2016, 2019), in various configurations offered by the scholarly interests of its members: 

  • Panel Organization of knowledge in Asian Cultures: Lists, catalogues and classification systems between orality and scriptuality, convened by Jens Braarvig and Velizar Sadovski in the framework of the 31st German Oriental Studies Congress (31. Deutscher Orientalistentag), Marburg, 24.9.2010. 

  • Crossing Boundaries: Multilingualism, Lingua Franca and Lingua Sacra. A TOPOI conference held at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, convened by Markham J. Geller, Freie Universität zu Berlin and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, 8–10.11.2010.

  • Panel ‘Listenwissenschaften’ in the framework of the TOPOI conference Knowledge to Die For: Transmission of Prohibited and Esoteric Knowledge through Space and Time, convened by Florentina Badalanova Geller, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, 2–4.5.2011. 

  • Vielsprachigkeit und Wissensgeschichte in Asien von der Antike bis zur frühen Moderne, convened by Velizar Sadovski, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna (3–5.11.2011).

  • Sacred Texts and Magic in Ancient Near Eastern Societies. An International Symposium in honour of Antonio Panaino, convened by Velizar Sadovski, Florentina Badalanova Geller, Markham J. Geller, Sergey Ignatov and Teodor Lekov, New Bulgarian University, Sofia, 20–21.12.2011.

  • International Symposium in memory of Prof. Manfred Mayrhofer, convened by Bert G. Fragner, Velizar Sadovski, and Florian Schwarz, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 10–12.5.2012.

  • International Symposium ‘Poetical Language and Ritual Pragmatics in Ancient Indo-Iranian Traditions: Charms and Medicine in Atharvavedic and Avestan Texts and Rites’, convened by Jan E. Houben, Julieta Rotaru, Velizar Sadovski and E. Michael Witzel, Mamaia, 23–27.9.2012.

  • From Elam to Iran. An international symposium. In memoriam Manfred Mayrhofer. Convened by Antonio Panaino, University of Bologna, Ravenna, 22–23.3.2013.

  • Multilingualism and Social Experience in Ancient Eurasia. A panel convened by Gebhard J. Selz and Velizar Sadovski in the framework of the 32nd German Oriental Studies Congress (32. Deutscher Orientalistentag), Münster, 24–25.9.2013.

  • Tra antico-iranico e indoeuropeo. Lectures of Rüdiger Schmitt and Velizar Sadovski, organized by Maria Carmela Benvenuto, Flavia Pompeo, Paolo Di Giovine, La Sapienza, Rome, 9.12.2013.

  • Achaimenidika I. Symposium organized by Adriano V. Rossi and Ela Filippone (DARIOSH Project, Naples/Viterbo), with Rüdiger Schmitt and Velizar Sadovski (ÖAW), Rome, 10–11.12.2013.

  • *R̥tamanas-, R̥tavacas-, R̥tadipi-* – ‘Of Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Writings’. In honour of the 75th anniversary of Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt. Symposium convened by Velizar Sadovski and Florian Schwarz, Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 20.6.2014.

  • Multilingualism Panel organized by Adriano V. Rossi and Ela Filippone in the framework of the Convegno internazionale “Dinamiche sociolinguistiche in aree di influenza greca: mutamento, variazione e contatto”, Rome, Sapienza University, 22–24.9.2014.

  • Multilingualism in pre-modern societies of Ancient Europe and Asia. An international confer-ence in honour of Prof. Dr. Gebhard J. Selz. Convened by the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Institut für Orientalistik and the Orientalische Gesellschaft of the University of Vienna, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna, 1–3.7.2015. 

  • The Ritual Sphere. An international symposium convened by Paola Cotticelli (University of Verona) and Velizar Sadovski (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Verona, 17–19.3.2016.

  • Achaemenid texts and contexts: syntax, stylistics and text linguistics. (Achaimenidika II). A panel in memory of M. Mayrhofer, convened by Velizar Sadovski and Adriano V. Rossi within the 11th Biennial Iranian Studies Conference of the Association for Iranian Studies, Vienna, 3–5.8.2016.

  • Multilingualism and Social Reality in Pre-Modern Societies of Ancient Eurasia. International Conference at the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, convened by Velizar Sadovski and Florian Schwarz, Vienna, 13–15.12.2016. 

  • Scriptura franca: A Symposium of the Multilingualism Research Group, convened by Jens E. Braarvig and Amund Bjorsnes, Norwegian Institute of Philology, Oslo, 5–7.6.2017.

  • Grammatica Iranica, Indo-Iranica necnon Indo-Europea: An Austro-Italian symposium convened by the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Vienna Linguistic Society, and the Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese and organized by Velizar Sadovski, Hans-Christian Luschützky, Maria Patrizia Bologna, and Gebhard J. Selz, Vienna, 22–23.5.2018.

  • International workshop The Morgenstierne Archives convened by the Norwegian Institute of Philology and organized by Jens E. Braarvig and Amund Bjorsnes, Oslo, 25–27.08.2019.

  • Panel Contacts and interference in Old Persian and Avestan linguistic cultures convened by Velizar Sadovski, Adriano V. Rossi, Ela Filippone, and Marco Mancini in the framework of the Ninth European Conference of Iranian Studies, Berlin (Freie Universität), September 9–13, 2019.

  • Organization of Knowledge in Ancient Indo-European Cultural Traditions. A workshop in hon-our of the 80th birthday of Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt, convened by the University of Verona (Paola Cotticelli, Attilio Mastrocinque), the ERC Project PaLaC (Federico Giusfredi), and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Velizar Sadovski), Verona, 26–27.11.2019.

Published Books

  • Benvenuto, Maria Carmela – Braarvig, Jens E. – Pompeo, Flavia – Rossi, Adriano – Sadovski, Velizar (eds.): Word formation, grammar and lexicology: Comparative-historical and multilingual-contrastive perspectives. Proceedings of the International Conference organized by the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, in co-operation with the Multilingualism Research Group (Vienna), the Austrian Academy of Sciences, ISMEO – The International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies, and the Norwegian Institute of Philology, Rome, February 6–8, 2019. (Indogermanische Stilistik, Poetik und Textlinguistik 4). Hamburg 2020. ISBN 978-3-935536-27-1.
    => Read the Introduction.​

       => Read the Preface.

       => Read the Introduction.

       => Read the Preface.

       => Read the Preface.

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