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Monday, 25 July 2022 13:27

Terminology: Domain Loss and Gain, Brussels, 20-21 April 2023

The concept of domain loss originated in the Nordic countries in the 1990s and was defined
by Laurén, Myking & Picht as “loss of ability to communicate in the national language at all levels of
an area of knowledge because of deficient further development of the necessary means of
professional communication”. Foremost among those ‘necessary means’ are the terms needed to
communicate on specific professional topics in one’s own language.
The term domain loss caught on quickly and became a buzzword shared by journalists and picked up
by national language commissions (Haberland 2005). Extending their theory, Laurén, Myking & Picht
also coined the terms domain conquest and domain reconquest, to refer to examples where a
national language comes up with its own means of communication in a particular domain or supplies
those means where they were at first lacking.

There have also been critics of the domain loss theory: Hultgren (2016) calls domain loss a ‘red
herring’ that detracts attention away from other, more fundamental debates. She argues it might be
more appropriate to speak of “lack of domain gain”. Haberland (2019) criticises the domain concept,
at the same time stressing that variation in language behaviour remains a very worthwhile area of
research that can be approached from a variety of angles. In Myking (2011) the co-author of the
original seminal paper on the subject returns to his topic and notes that “It is possible that too much
discussion has been centred around the negative aspects of domain loss, and that a positive shift of
focus towards domain conquest would be more productive”. In his recent paper, he argues that
language planning, or rather “language management” is always possible but that its outcome is not

Worries about the influence of dominant languages on local languages, in particular in professional
contexts, continue to exist, as do worries about the threat of (digital or other) extinction of minority
languages. Conversely, there are many attempts, successful as well as unsuccessful, at enriching
languages with language-specific terms for new concepts. The conference aims to address all these
issues and welcomes theoretical work as well as practical examples.

Keynote speakers
Four keynote speakers have accepted to address the conference:
• Elena Chiocchetti (Eurac Research)
• Manuel Célio Conceição (Universidade do Algarve),
• Johan Myking (University of Bergen, Norway)
• Katelijn Serlet (Director LING 2 - Translation Service at Council of the European Union)

Deadline for applications: 1 October 2022

For more information, click here

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