[Lingtyp] CALL: Diachronic morphology: theoretical, areal, and phylogenetic perspectives
Rik van Gijn
erik.vangijn at uzh.ch
Wed Jun 1 10:04:36 EDT 2016
(Apologies for multiple postings)
*Diachronic morphology: theoretical, areal, and phylogenetic perspectives*
Zurich, January 26-27, 2017
Grammar and lexicon (in the sense of ‘vocabulary’) have both been
central to understanding language change. However, their diachronic
behavior is often contrasted in at least two respects:
·It has been suggested that, on the whole, grammar (including
morphology) changes more slowly than lexicon (e.g. Nichols 1992, 2003,
Dunn et al. 2005). It has also been suggested that different types of
grammatical structure have different degrees of diachronic stability,
though this has so far not led to consensus (see Dediu & Cysouw 2013 for
an overview of different approaches)
·In contact linguistics, it has repeatedly been claimed that structure
is more resistant to borrowing than vocabulary (see e.g. Moravcsik 1978,
Thomason & Kaufman 1988, McMahon & McMahon 2005), while at the same time
structure is expected to leave substrate signals after language shift
and in situations of convergence.
Morphology, with its close ties to both the lexicon and syntax, can play
a key role in arriving at a better understanding of this seemingly
contrastive diachronic behavior of lexicon and grammar. Morphology
itself seems to display ambiguous diachronic behavior. On the one hand,
the distribution of broad morphological types over the globe suggests
areal, contact-related diffusion. On the other hand, patterns of
flexivity and syncretism often show strong lineage-specific signals.
In order to better understand the dynamics of morphological patterns in
time and space, we need (1) to develop more fine-grained approaches to
morphological categories and types, in which broad types are broken down
into lower-level variables, whose phylogenetic and areal behavior can
then be studied individually; and (2) to adopt methods of analysis that
are sensitive to genealogical and geographical diversity. Combining the
latest insights in morphological theory and comparative-historical
linguistics is crucial for adequately addressing one of the key
challenges in comparative morphology: distinguishing contact-induced vs
universally favored vs random spread of specific morphological patterns
within families, or cross-family stability vs. areal spread.
Marianne Mithun (UC Santa Barbara)
Andrew Spencer (University of Essex)
*Call for papers*
With this workshop we want to achieve a rapprochement between
comparative-historical morphology and morphological theory, addressing
the question of how morphological theory can contribute to
comparative-diachronic approaches to morphology and vice versa. We are
especially interested in the following topics (but potential
contributors should not feel restricted by them):
·Differential stability of subparts of morphology
·Comparisons between lexicon, syntax, and morphology in terms of rates
·The diachronic behavior of lexicon-like morphology and morphology-like
·Fine-grained approaches to the areal and genealogical behavior of
·The use of modern computational techniques in establishing phylogenetic
and/or areal patterns in morphology
·The use of refined geographical methods to map and explain patterns of
Abstracts (max. 1 page) should be uploaded to Easychair by *15 October
2016*. Notification of acceptance: 1 November 2016
*Uploading abstracts to Easychair involves the following steps*
Go to the Easychair Abstract submission page
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Once you are logged in, you can submit your abstract
Click NEW SUBMISSION at the top of the page.
Follow the instructions, fill in the form, and then submit.
/The organizing committee/
Rik van Gijn, Stefan Dedio, Francesco Gardani, Florian Matter, Peter
Ranacher, Florian Sommer, Manuel Widmer
/The scientific committee/
The organizing committee plus Wolfgang Behr, Balthasar Bickel, Mathias
Jenny, Michele Loporcaro, Robert Weibel, Paul Widmer, Fernando Zúñiga
Dediu, Dan & Michael Cysouw. 2013. Some structural aspects of language
are more stable than others: a comparison of seven methods. /PLoS ONE/
8(1): e55009. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055009
Dunn, Michael, Angela Terrill, Ger Reesink, Robert A. Foley & Stephen C.
Levinson.2005. Structural phylogenetics and the reconstruction of
ancient language history. /Science/309 (5743): 2072-2075.
McMahon, April & Robert McMahon. 2005. /Language classification by
numbers/. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moravcsik, Edith A. 1978. Language contact. In Joseph H. Greenberg,
Charles A. Ferguson & Edith A. Moravcsik (eds.), /Universals of human
language: Method & theory/, 93–122. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Nichols, Johanna. 1992. /Linguistic diversity in space and time/.
Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Nichols, Johanna. 2003. Diversity and Stability in Language. In: Brian
D. Joseph & Richard D. Janda (eds.) /The Handbook of Historical
Linguistics/, 283-310. Malden: Blackwell
Thomason, Sarah G. & Terrence D. Kaufman. 1988. /Language Contact,
Creolization, and Genetic Inheritance/. Berkeley: University of
Dr. Rik van Gijn
University of Zürich
Dept. of Comparative Linguistics
0041-(0)44 63 42859
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