Call for Papers

The 2019 Dene Languages Conference invites papers for the general sessions and for the two special themed sessions: "Dene Epistemologies: Linguistic Stability and Adaptation" and "The Language of Music, Dance, and Performance." Papers from both academic researchers and tribal/community-based programs and organizations are welcome.

General Sessions
General session papers can address any topic related to Dene languages, including but not limited to theoretical or descriptive linguistics, language maintenance and revitalization, language teaching, linguistic anthropology, and sociolinguistics.

Special Session: "Dene Epistemologies: Linguistic Stability and Adaptation"
This session invites papers that explore connections between Dene languages and Dene peoples’ ways of knowing, value systems, and worldviews, considering especially ways that these connections have remained constant or changed over time (hence “stability and adaptation”). This might be over relatively long time spans as Dene-speaking peoples have interacted with other Indigenous groups in North America over many centuries, or relatively recently as many Dene languages have reached a point of critical endangerment due to the persistent encroachments and violence of colonization. Papers can consider not only how the languages and the epistemologies they encode came to be how they are today, but also their prospects and enduring value moving forward.

Special Session: "The Language of Music, Dance, and Performance"
Music, dance, and genres that can be broadly considered “performance” are important components of Dene peoples’ ceremonial life and modes of cultural expression. Dene languages play a central role in defining these genres (e.g., the deployment or absence of lyrics in different song types), and they also provide a powerful means of understanding their cultural value through analysis of vocabulary and idioms typically used to describe them. This session will bring together papers on more strictly linguistic aspects of the language deployed in these genres (such as issues pertaining to lexical tone and prosody in song or poetry), as well as their pedagogical applications in language maintenance/revitalization settings (using music and dance in language teaching), their role as a stimulus for language documentation work, and their value as reflections of Dene peoples’ understanding of their cultural significance.

How to Submit
Anonymous 1-page abstracts (12-point Times New Roman, single spaced, 1" margins) should be submitted in pdf format. References and examples may appear on a second page. Submit via email to

The extended deadline for submissions is March 15, 2019 (add to your calendar here). Notification of acceptance will be made by approximately March 31, 2019.