Preliminary Call: Stability and borrowability of interrogative pronominals

Idiatov Dmitry honohiiri at
Thu Aug 26 15:10:07 UTC 2010


Workshop title:	Stability and borrowability of interrogative pronominals

Description:	see at the end of this message
Conference:	20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics

Convenor:	Dmitry Idiatov (University of Antwerp; starting from October 1, 2010 – LLACAN-CNRS, Paris)
Contact:	dmitry.idiatov at

Call deadline:	September 14, 2010

Deadline for abstract submission: November 15, 2010

Dear Histling list members,

This is a survey of interest for a workshop on the “Stability and borrowability of interrogative pronominals” within the frame of the upcoming 20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, to be held in Osaka, Japan, July 25-30, 2011 ( A description of the topic of the workshop is included at the end of this message.

Given that the procedure for organization of a workshop at ICHL 20 ( requires to submit the proposal of a workshop, with the names of potential participants and tentative titles, by September 15, 2010, I am looking forward to hearing from those who may be interested in participating in the workshop by September 14, 2010, at dmitry.idiatov at Please provide a provisional title of your contribution.

After the accepted workshops are announced on the website of ICHL 20, the participants should submit their abstracts through a form on the website of ICHL 20 indicating the workshop that they wish their presentation to be included in. The abstracts must be submitted before November 15, 2010.

Dmitry Idiatov

Description:	“Stability and borrowability of interrogative pronominals”

Interrogative pronominals, such as English who? and what?, are usually considered to be among the most change-proof elements in any language. They are believed to be highly resistant to both replacement through borrowing (Haspelmath & Tadmor 2009, Matras 2009:199) and language-internal renewal (Haspelmath 1997:176). In this respect, they strongly resemble personal pronominals. The two kinds of pronominals are also often perceived as good indicators of (long-range) genetic relationships and are regularly included in basic vocabulary lists. However, the view of personal pronominals as highly resistant to borrowing is not uncontroversial (cf. Wallace 1983, Thomason & Everett 2005, Matras 2009:203-208, Law 2009). It has also long been observed that reconstruction of personal pronominals tends to be fraught with difficulties due to their typically short forms and their tendency to undergo irregular changes, such as sound changes specific to them, various kinds of analogical changes and amalgamation with other elements. The workshop aims at assessing the claims on the universality of the extremely slow rate of change and high resistance to borrowing with respect to interrogative pronominals. Particularly welcome are papers on examples of fast changes of interrogative pronominals in families and subgroups, on examples of their borrowing and on the kinds of irregular changes affecting interrogative pronominals.

Histling-l mailing list
Histling-l at

More information about the Histling-l mailing list