Calls: Production, Perception, Attitude

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Feb 25 18:02:33 UTC 2009

Production, Perception, Attitude

Date: 02-Apr-2009 - 04-Apr-2009
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Contact: Leen Impe
Contact Email:
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Meeting Description:

Production, Perception, Attitude:
An interdisciplinary workshop on understanding and explaining
linguistic variation.

Hosted by the University of Leuven, April 2-4, 2009

Organized by the Universities of Leuven, Nijmegen, and Groningen for the
VNC-research programme. The interaction between intelligibility, attitude, and
linguistic distance.

Call for participation

Workshop website:

The symposium focuses on and confronts work in variationist linguistics,
perceptual dialectology, and language attitude research with a view to
explaining linguistic variation. Although the latter has enjoyed an enormous
amount of descriptive and theoretical attention, few reliable data are
available on the origin of this variation and on how it can be accounted for.
In order to explain language variation, the sociolinguistic correlates of
phonetic, lexical, and morpho-syntactic variables "have to be traced back to a
complex set of underlying criteria" (Knops & Van Hout 1988: 2). The
identification of at least some of these criteria is the ambitious aim to which
the present workshop is devoted.

Up to now, linguistic variation has been investigated predominantly from the
perspective of language production, i. e. in terms of the description of the
linguistic distance observed between regional and stylistic varieties of Dutch
(cf. Geeraerts, Grondelaers & Speelman 1999; Van Hout & Van de Velde 2001;
Heeringa & Nerbonne 2001). In order, however, to move from merely describing
linguistic variation to explaining variation, three extensions are needed.

First, the production perspective on linguistic variation has to be refined
theoretically and methodologically to chart hitherto unknown patterns and (more
importantly) triggers of variation. Second, it is well-known that some language
variation and change patterns are sustained by attitudinal factors
(whereby "attitudes" are provisionally defined as the culturally and
experientially acquired inclination to perceive and evaluate a variety as
systematically negative or positive). Although the causal link between
perception and production has recurrently been demonstrated (cf. Van Bezooijen
2001), both define different disciplines in (socio)linguistics and social
psychology which rarely interact. Attitude research is moreover hindered by a
lack of reliable quantitative data (Grondelaers, Van Hout & Steegs: in press).

In addition to these two perspectives, the workshop also focuses on the (often
missing) link between the production and the evaluative perception of language
variation. Before language variation can be subjectively evaluated, it must
first be recognized by the layman. Perceptual dialectology (Long & Preston
1999) therefore investigates to what extent linguistic laymen recognize and
understand other varieties, and where they situate the boundaries between their
own and other varieties. Although this paradigm represents one of the oldest
disciplines in sociolinguistics (pioneered in Weijnen 1946), its findings have
rarely been systematically confronted with production and attitudinal
perception data. Another crucial perspective which has largely been ignored in
this respect is the mutual intelligibility between language varieties, a factor
which is co-determined by attitudes and by linguistic distance (Gooskens


Geeraerts, D., S. Grondelaers & D. Speelman (1999). Convergentie en Divergentie
in de Nederlandse Woordenschat: een Onderzoek naar kleding- en voetbalnamen.
Amsterdam: Meertensinstituut.
Grondelaers, S., R. van Hout & M. Steegs. Non-circular scales and ecological
stimuli. Measuring accent attitudes in the Dutch language area. To appear in
the Journal of Language and Social Psychology.
Gooskens, Charlotte (2007): The contribution of linguistic factors to the
intelligibility of closely related languages. Journal of Multilingual and
multicultural development 28 (6), 445-467.
Heeringa, W. & J. Nerbonne (2002). Dialect areas and dialect continua. In David
Sankoff, William Labov and Anthony Kroch (eds.), Language Variation and Change,
375-400. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Long, D., D. R. Preston (Eds.). (1999). Handbook of Perceptual Dialectology.
Volume 1. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Van Bezooijen, R. (2001). Poldernederlands. Hoe kijken vrouwen ertegenaan?
Nederlandse Taalkunde 6, 257-271.
Van de Velde, H. & R. van Hout. R-atics. Sociolinguistic, Phonetic and
Phonological Characteristics of /r/. Etudes & Travaux 4. Brussel: Editions
Universit├ę Libre de Bruxelles.
Van Hout, R. & U. Knops (1988). Language Attitudes in the Dutch Language Area.
Dordrecht: Foris

Plenary Speakers

Dennis Preston (Michigan State University)
Janet Pierrehumbert (Northwestern University)
Roeland van Hout (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Programme & Local Committee

Dirk Speelman (University of Leuven)
Stefan Grondelaers (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Dirk Geeraerts (University of Leuven)
Roeland van Hout (Radboud University Nijmegen)
John Nerbonne (University of Groningen)
Charlotte Gooskens (University of Groningen)
Sebastian K├╝rschner (University of Groningen)
Leen Impe (University of Leuven)
Mieke Steegs (Radboud University Nijmegen)

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list