Annual Workshop on Fragmented Languages

Fragmented Language Workshop

WIELD held its first-ever annual workshop on fragmented languages on Twitter across two sessions: Session A was held on December 12, 2020, and Session B was held on January 21, 2021. You can view a master table with the names of all presenters, the titles of their presentations, and other information here. Below, please explore the history of WIELD’s workshop preparations together with some answers to frequently asked questions.


History of the Workshop

In 2019, WIELD’s board began plans for an international workshop on fragmented languages to be held via a virtual medium. Discussion centered on the purposes, scope, and expected outcomes of the workshop, including whether a publication might be expected to result from the endeavor. The Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and resulted in two unexpected issues, one negative and one positive:

(1) Some of our board members were impacted by the lock downs in their respective nations and were not able to make preparations for the workshop as originally planned, which moved the timing of the meeting back by several months.

(2) The rest of the academic community immediately embraced virtual solutions in place of travel for conferences and workshops due to the virus-related travel restrictions, which increased the likelihood that a virtual workshop might be broadly accepted.

It was therefore decided that WIELD should focus on the best aspects of online media and rework the workshop to take advantage of the most promising means of gathering online. Thus WIELD’s Fragmented Language Workshop on Twitter was born.

Twitter as a medium of content distribution and virtual gathering allows presenters to communicate their message succinctly and with appropriate examples via attached images. We believe that all this can be done across twelve tweets, which gives the presentations a hybridized character with some similarities to poster presentations alongside a more traditional paper presentation feel.

This format will allow anyone to view participants’ presentations in real time from anywhere on earth. It also allows presenters (who so choose) to answer questions about their work long after the end of the workshop.

Which topics may be relevant for submission?
Any topic that covers the documentation or analysis of a fragmented language is an appropriate one for this workshop. WIELD coined the term “fragmented language” in order to label languages that are more than just endangered or und(er)documented. Like any label, there is a core and a periphery when it comes to which languages fit under the concept of “fragmented language.” WIELD has developed a quantitative scaling method for determining the status of a language and the degree to which it is fragmented. You can view that information here.