For three centuries, San Antonio has been a crossroads of people, culture, and language. From the establishment of the Spanish Colonial missions in the territory of Coahuiltecan bands to subsequent settlement by Germans, Mexicans, and others, San Antonio has been the place of practice for a variety of languages.
The examination of those languages as a product of historical and social forces is the focust of the 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio on Monday, July 31, through Friday, Aug. 4, downtown at Hotel Contessa.
The ICHL is the largest and most prestigious gathering of scholars of historical linguistics in the world and is expected to bring to the city over 300 linguists from 40 countries. The week-long conference will include workshops and a four-part discussion series, “Las lenguas de San Antonio a 300 años: Reconstructing the Linguistic Roots of a Multi-Cultural City,” celebrating San Antonio’s role as a “frontier of language” over the course of its dynamic history. These talks are free and open to the public, and a schedule of the panels can be found here.
Bridget Drinka, professor of linguistics at UTSA and president of the International Society for Historical Linguistics, called the event “a birthday gift from UTSA to the City to start its [tricentennial] celebration.”
“We wanted to bring scholars from all over the world to tell us something about the history of San Antonio,” said Drinka. “And we’re trying to invite the whole city to learn about different aspects of our own history through the lens of our different languages.”
She noted that institutions such as the University of Naples Federico II, the University of Oslo, the University of Copenhagen, and UCLA have hosted the conference in the past and that Oxford University will host it in four years.
“It’s lovely that we’re being classed among those universities,” she said. “… And many of…