Conference programme

The preliminary programme will be announced soon.

We are delighted to announce that the conference plenary speakers will be:

Joan C. Beal (University of Sheffield, UK)

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Joan C. Beal is Emeritus Professor of English Language at the University of Sheffield. She was the main organiser of the first conference in this series in 2003, ‘Histories of Prescriptivism’, and, naturally, the theme of prescriptivism and the English normative tradition has always featured prominently in her work. She has addressed, in particular, the role of eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries and standard pronunciation, enregisterment, and what she has labelled ‘the new prescriptivism’ in the twenty-first century. Amongst Beal’s numerous publications the following stand out in relation to our conference: English Pronunciation in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Spence’s Grand Repository of the English Language (1775) (1999), English in Modern Times 1700-1945 (2004), the co-edited volume Perspectives on Prescriptivism (2008), and the co-edited special issues “Prescriptivism and Pronouncing Dictionaries: Past and Present” and “The English Normative Tradition” (Language & History, 2012 and 2016). She is currently co-editing The Routledge Handbook of Prescriptivism and she is the project leader of the ‘Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database (ECEP)’.

Kate Burridge (Monash University, Australia)

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Kate Burridge is Professor of Linguistics at Monash University, Australia, and a Fellow of both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia. Her main areas of research are the structure and history of English, language change (with a focus on vocabulary and grammar), and attitudes to language. Burridge has shown a particular interest in the notion of linguistic taboo and purism, and the nature of euphemism and dysphemism, as illustrated in Euphemism and Dysphemism: Language Used as Shield and Weapon (1991) and Forbidden Words: Taboo and the Censoring of Language (2006), both co-written with Keith Allan. In previous conferences of this series she presented her work on the role of prescription in speech communities and the survival of marginalised languages, in particular in the context of the Pennsylvania-German speaking Anabaptist groups of North America. Burridge is also a regular presenter of language segments on radio and has appeared as a weekly panelist on ABC TV’s Can We Help? (2007-2011).

Don Chapman (Brigham Young University, USA)

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Don Chapman is Associate Professor in the Linguistics Department at Brigham Young University, USA. He acted as Chair of the 5th Prescriptivism Conference held in Park City, Utah, in 2017, and has co-edited the recently published volume Language Prescription: Values, Ideologies and Identity (2020). Chapman specialises in the history of the English language and prescriptivism, and the intersection between those two topics. His work has addressed “the presumed binary in the prescriptivist-vs-descriptivist formula”, and he has also provided an innovative analysis of the credentials of eighteenth-century grammarians as ‘language experts’. Chapman’s research on English usage guides has likewise been stimulating; for instance, on the role of etymology as a principle underlying correctness claims on word meaning in the usage guides’ prescriptive discourse, and on the use of epithets for disapproval in guides published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging from terms emphasising correctness and communication to emphasis on varieties of English and social judgements.