UCSB will play host to a two-day seminar this weekend in the McCune Conference Room exploring the impact that different languages and dialects have on Californian’s sociocultural identities.

According to UCSB linguistics professor Mary Bucholtz, “Vox California: Cultural Meaning of Linguistic Diversity” will feature speakers from colleges and universities all over the Golden State who will lecture on the integral role language plays in shaping California’s society and culture. In all, the event is expected to feature 17 guest speakers and is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“The idea behind the event is that language is a big part of the state’s identity,” Bucholtz said. “The goal is to understand how Californians use language in their everyday lives as well as how Californians are portrayed linguistically to the rest of the world, and what both of these issues tell us about California as a culture and as an idea.”

Bucholtz also said she hopes to highlight how important a thorough understanding of language is for interpreting educational, legal and political events in the state. Thus, she said, the conference will explain how the presence of many languages in California begets social discord and controversy in the state as well.

“‘Vox California’ is the first conference of its kind to focus on the full scope of California’s linguistic resources,” Bucholtz said. “It seeks to investigate the cultural meanings of specific linguistic forms and representations and practices.”

Additionally, Bucholtz said, graduate and undergraduate students will present 21 posters about their research on the topic. She will also give a speech herself, she said.

According to a press release from the Linguistics Dept., the community at large is encouraged to attend the linguistics workshop so that they can be appropriately knowledgeable about ‘the cultural meanings of specific linguistic forms, representations and practices.’

Bucholtz said she was particularly hopeful that students would be among those that attend.

“We’re hoping students will show up,” Bucholtz said. “It’s important for them because they are the heart of linguistic diversity in California and hopefully they’ll gain incite into their own linguistic backgrounds. They have a huge contribution to make, and I hope they’ll be excited enough to do work into discovering their own California languages.”

The workshop is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday in the McCune Conference Room and will end Sunday at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, although spaces are limited and prior registration is required. To learn more, visit www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/VoxCA/index.html.