Universiteit Leiden

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Religious Language and Discourse: a Sociolinguistic Field of Study

Friday 23 November 2018
P.N. van Eyckhof
P.N. van Eyckhof 1-4
2311 BV Leiden
Van Eykhof 4, room 006, Van Eyckhof 2, room 006

In our one-day symposium we seek to continue the discussion stared by the works of Omoniyi and Fishman (2006), Darquennes and Vandenbussche (2011), and Yaeger-Dror (2014), among others, who sought to elaborate on the methodology of analysing religion as a sociolinguistic variable. Our aim is to examine approaches that are most suitable to analyse linguistic practices of religious communities that use more than one language for religious rituals and communication. We will look at theoretical and empirical contributions that explore agency in using religious languages, political and symbolic power of particular religious registers, and linguistic strategies in translation of religious terminology.

This symposium is part of the research project that explores the use of religious languages in the interplay of Christian and Islamic communities in Russia. In our project we examine how Russian today transforms from being a language of Orthodox Christians to accommodate discourse of Muslims in the post-Soviet space. And how these transformations influence the ‘traditional’ Islamic vernaculars in Russia – languages, such as Tatar, Bashkir or Avar.

The project and the symposium are funded by the Grant 360-70-490 from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


To view the program click here.


prof. dr. Jos Schaeken 

Gulnaz Sibgatullina


Darquennes, J. and W. Vandenbussche. 2011. “Language and religion as a sociolinguistic field of study: some introductory notes.” Internationales Jahrbuch für europäische Soziolinguistik 25: 1-12

Omoniyi, T. and J. A. Fishman. 2006. Explorations in the sociology of language and religion. Discourse approaches to politics, society, and culture. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins.

Yaeger-Dror, M. 2014. “Religion as a Sociolinguistic Variable.” Language and Linguistics Compass 8 (11): 577-89


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