25.3400, Calls: Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, General Linguistics/UK

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LINGUIST List: Vol-25-3400. Thu Aug 28 2014. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 25.3400, Calls: Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, General Linguistics/UK

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Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:20:20
From: Eline Zenner [eline.zenner at arts.kuleuven.be]
Subject: Cognitive Contact Linguistics

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Full Title: Cognitive Contact Linguistics 

Date: 20-Jul-2015 - 25-Jul-2015
Location: Northumbria, United Kingdom 
Contact Person: Eline Zenner
Meeting Email: eline.zenner at arts.kuleuven.be

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics 

Call Deadline: 03-Sep-2014 

Meeting Description:

For ICLC 13 (Northumbria, July 2015) we propose a theme session that aims to demonstrate the benefits and possibilities of Cognitive Contact Linguistics (CCL), a framework that imbeds core concepts and theoretical insights of Cognitive Linguistics and Cognitive Sociolinguistics in research on contact-induced variation and change.

Theoretically, turning to given concepts in Cognitive Linguistics will improve the existing taxonomies and definitions in contact linguistics, and will increase our understanding of contact-induced phenomena such as borrowing and codeswitching. More specifically:

1) Prototype theory (e.g. Geeraerts et al. 1994) can be used to advance the debate on the distinction between codeswitching and borrowing, by letting go of the desire for a classical definition of both concepts in favor of a prototypical approach, in which the fuzzy boundaries between the two concepts are accepted as part of the linguistic reality (e.g. Matras 2009: 113-114)

2) Insights from Construction Grammar (e.g. Langacker 1991, Goldberg 1995) can help unify research traditions on lexical borrowing (with its typically narrow focus on single word units), codeswitching (with its strictly synchronic focus), and structural borrowing (with its focus on grammar only) by introducing the idea of a continuum from lexicon to syntax (e.g. Doğruöz & Backus 2009, cp. Heine & Kuteva 2005)

3) The notions of entrenchment and salience (e.g. Schmid 2007) can increase our understanding of variation in borrowability in general and of the crucial role that is played by semantic, pragmatic and social meaning in promoting the attractiveness of particular forms from another language. In this respect, insisting on the distinction between semasiology and onomasiology (e.g. Geeraerts 1997) proves crucial (e.g. Zenner et al. 2014a; Winter-Froemel 2013).

4) Conceptual Metaphors and Cultural Models (e.g. Lakoff & Johnson 1980) provide objective descriptions of (inter)cultural differences, both within and between contact varieties (e.g. Wolf & Polzenhagen 2009)

5) Usage-based re-formulations of known issues in historical linguistics effectuate a re-appraisal of contact linguistic puzzles in historical linguistic terms (Backus 2013 on the actuation/innovation and transition/propagation problem) (Weinreich et al. 1968 vs. Croft 2000)

In addition to these theoretical perspectives, CCL methodologically relies on Cognitive Sociolinguistics in emphasizing that any usage-based analysis should be based on empirical data (Kristiansen & Dirven 2008). Given how contact communities are by default heterogeneous (i.e. bi- or multilingual), any such empirical analysis conducted in a contact setting should include a variationist component. Adding that a speech community is often heterogeneous in more than one respect (e.g. regarding region or register), a truly variationist analysis will also be multifactorial: the effect of more than one independent variable on the contact-induced phenomenon under scrutiny is patterned. Resulting, inferential statistical analyses should be used in order to deal with the ensuing complexity of the resulting dataset. An example of such an approach in contact linguistics can be found in Zenner et al. (2014b), where a multifactorial statistical model is used to explain variation in the use of expressive English loanwords in Dutch.


Eline Zenner (KU Leuven)
A. Seza Doğruöz (Tilburg University)
Ad Backus (Tilburg University)

2nd Call for Papers:

This theme session proposal for ICLC 13 (Northumbria, July 2015) aims to bring together state of the art research that introduces insights from Cognitive Linguistics into the field of contact linguistics - and vice versa. Theoretically, amongst others the Cognitive Linguistic notions of prototype theory, Construction Grammar, Conceptual Metaphors, Cultural Models and/or the usage-based hypothesis can be applied to contact situations. Methodologically, we emphasize the importance of multifactorial, empirical analyses.

As such, the proposed cross-fertilization pushes both contact linguistic and Cognitive Linguistic research forward. On the one hand, CCL provides innovative theoretical background to help interpret and explain frequently attested contact-induced linguistic phenomena, and additionally opens up a whole new range of questions for the field of contact linguistics. On the other hand, Cognitive Linguistics can benefit from CCL as it involves dynamic linguistic situations in which variation and change are much more intensive than in non-contact varieties. This will allow for a much-needed empirical investigation of the degree to which the usage-based hypothesis that linguistic competence is dynamic receives empirical support from data on language change. In this way, CCL addresses the monolectal fallacy that is indicative of early Cognitive Linguistic research, emphasizing that ''a linguistic community is never homogeneous and hardly ever self-contained'' (Weinreich 1970: vii).

If you are interested in contributing to our theme session, please submit a preliminary abstract (max. 500 words) to eline.zenner at arts.kuleuven.be by 3 September 2014. You will hear back from us by 15 September.

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