Call for Papers

International Conference on Pluricentricity vs. Pluriareality-

Models, Varieties, Approaches

8th February  – 10th February, 2019| Münster, Germany

Confirmed keynote speakers & roundtable discussants
Edgar W. Schneider                   Stefan Dollinger                     Stephan Elspaß
University of Regensburg    University of British Columbia    University of Salzburg

            Rudolf Muhr                           Sarah Buschfeld
            University of Graz                  University of Regensburg

Abstract submission deadline: November 30th, 2018


Description & aim
The Graduate School of Empirical and Applied Linguistics (GSEAL) at WWU Münster will be hosting an international conference, geared towards early career researchers while also incorporating experienced academics, on the topic of “Pluricentricity vs. Pluriareality – Models, Varieties, Approaches” from 8th February – 10th February, 2019 in Münster, Germany.

Languages such as English, German, French, Portuguese, and Spanish are, in part, characterized by their function as languages with official status in different countries and regions while showing variation in their standard forms. Examples of such varieties include Indian English and Jamaican English, German German and Austrian German, and Brazilian Portuguese and Angolan Portuguese.

Linguistic variation in standard forms often focuses on the discourse of two central but opposing approaches: pluricentricity and pluriareality (e.g. Niehaus 2015; Elspaß et al. 2017; Dollinger fc.), with the former approach being commonly adopted in English linguistics and other philologies, specifically in the World Englishes paradigm, and the latter generally being used as the norm in German linguistics. Pluricentricity, on the one hand, describes a situation wherein a single language has several national standard varieties which interact with each other and are used for official purposes within their national contexts (Clyne 1992). Pluriareality, on the other hand, opposes an understanding of linguistic variation in the sense of national standards, and aims to describe linguistic differences in these language forms independent of national and political borders (e.g. Niehaus 2015; Elspaß et al. 2017).

The conference aims to consolidate these ideas, with an eye towards deepening this discourse through engagement with new models, varieties, and approaches within these fields. We therefore hope to bring together theoretical and empirical studies from a variety of philologies in order to provide new and emerging perspectives on the pluricentricity/pluriareality debate.

In so doing, we hope to expose graduate students to their regional and international peers from different philologies, as well as research being undertaken by senior researchers in related fields.

Conference languages
Panels and plenary talks will take place in either English or German, though the subject of these talks can focus on language varieties pertinent to the conference’s theme. We also invite poster presentations on relevant topics.

Abstract submission and deadlines
Abstracts for 20 minute papers (10 minute Q&A) should be submitted to EasyChair ( as PDFs, and should not exceed 500 words on a single page (bibliographic and/or other information such as data are allowed on a second page, and will not count towards the word limit). No names or institutional information should appear in the abstract itself. After logging in, please follow the instructions as specified on the EasyChair conference website. If you do not already have an EasyChair account, you will be asked to sign up and to create one.

The extended deadline for abstract submissions is December 31st, 2018 (midnight CEST).

Potential topics for panel sessions / poster presentations include debates surrounding pluriareality and pluricentricity, and/or either topic’s intersection with:

  • Variation studies
  • New theoretical models
  • Post-colonial varieties
  • Non-dominant varieties
  • New methodological approaches
  • Perception studies
  • Educational linguistics
  • Historical developments
  • Lexicosemantics
  • Stylistic analysis
  • Regional standards

Publication of selected papers
A prospective volume of selected papers is envisaged by the conference’s coordinators, Ryan Durgasingh and Philipp Meer.

Social programme
The conference will also host several social events including

  • a walking tour of Münster,
  • a pub crawl, and
  • a conference dinner.

Small registration fee
We are happy to announce that there will only be a small registration fee of 25.00€ due to our generous sponsors, the Graduate School EAL, and the International Office. The pub crawl and the conference dinner are not included; interested participants will be asked to cover their own expenses.


  • Clyne, Michael. 1992. Pluricentric languages: Introduction. In Michael Clyne (ed.), Pluricentric languages: Differing norms in different nations, 1-10. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Elspaß, Stephan, Christa Dürscheid & Arne Ziegler. 2017. Zur grammatischen Pluriarealität der deutschen Gebrauchsstandards – oder: Über die Grenzen des Plurizentrizitätsbegriffs. Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 136. 69-91.
  • Dollinger, Stefan. Forthcoming. The pluricentricity debate: On parallels, differences and distortions in German versus English and other languages. London: Routledge.
  • Niehaus, Konstatin. 2015. Areale Variation in der Syntax des Standarddeutschen: Ergebnisse zum Sprachgebrauch und zur Frage Plurizentrik vs. Pluriarealität. Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 82(2). 133-168.

Organizing committee
Philipp Meer
Ryan Durgasingh
Graduate School EAL

Contact and information