Crash Course: GSS and Language Tyopology

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Thu Aug 10 12:11:31 UTC 2000

The Institute of General and Indoeuropean Linguistics of the University
of Munich (Germany) announces a:

                              Crash Course

               The ‚Grammar of Scenes and Scenarios’ (GSS)
                   Its Application in Language Typology
                           October 11 - 12, 2000
                 [10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.– 5 p.m.]
    University of Munich - Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 München
                                Room 454

The theoretical framework underlying the 'Grammar of Scenes and
Scenarios' GSS (Schulze 1998) can be described as a strong diachronic
model that owes much to (holistic) cognitivism, constructivism, and
pragmatism. Modularity is only accepted as a secondary ‘construction’
(or mental hypothesis) of users about their language. Rather it is the
structural coupling of adequate network components together with their
emergent activities that have to be described as primary: This coupling
results in language as a complex ‘cognitive event’ - as an emergent
activity of this polycentric complex. According to GSS, the linguistic
reaction to event images heavily depends on the cognitive and
communicative defaults of such events. It is assumed that there is a (in

parts strongly metaphorized) correlation between the cognitive and
communicative architecture of linguistically oriented event imaging
(‘scenes’ – or (in (co)textual coupling) ‘scenarios’) and their
grammaticalization that is based on the Operating System of a given
language. The architectures of scenes (and scenarios) represent strongly

ritualized systems that are metaphorized from (system) space and
(system) time experience and the embodiment of environmental experience.

These systems are characterized among others by a) the topology of their

paradigmatic space (formal architecture or ‘blueprint’), and b) by
parameters of figure-ground relations and their location in the deictic,

communicative, and pragmatic space and time as well as by further
strategies of modalization. Their linguistic instantiation as Operating
Systems that control the dynamic organization of linguistic paradigms
establishes the typological parameters relevant for the explanation of
the architecture of ‘simple sentences’. Their diversification in terms
of different and prototypically organized grammatical systems is mainly
explained as the particularization of universal techniques of
categorization within the organization of scenes and scenarios that is
conditioned by history and transmitted by collective (social)

The crash course will concentrate on the impliciations for language
typology emerging from the GSS framework (‘Cognitive Typology’).
Introducing the notion of ‘particularization’ we will discuss the
architecture of ‘Operating Systems’ as well as the conditions that shape

these archictures. (Cognition-Communication Interface, Linguistic,
Communicative and Cultural Habitus, Grammaticalitzation, System
Diachronics etc.). A major issue will be to elaborate the ‘Accusative
Ergative Continuum’ as the most central part of Operating Systems, and
to test its descriptive and explanatory power against the empirics of
Language Typology.

For further information and registration please contact
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze: W.Schulze at

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
Institut fuer Allgemeine und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet München
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 München
Tel.: +89-21805343 / Fax: +89-21805345
Email: W.Schulze at

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list