CfP: Reconstruction and Deconstruction of Portmanteau Morphemes

Corinna Handschuh corinna_handschuh at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Jun 10 09:49:06 UTC 2009

We kindly invite abstract submissions for the workshop 'Reconstruction 
and Deconstruction of Portmanteau Morphemes' (see below for the workshop 
The workshop is organized by Michael Cysouw (MPI EVA), Jochen Trommer 
(Universität Leipzig), and Corinna Handschuh (MPI EVA).
It takes place as part of the annual meeting of the Deutsche 
Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (German Linguistic Society, DGfS) in 
Berlin between February 24th and 26th, 2010.

Abstracts should be anonymous and no more than 1 pages in length (an 
additional page for data and/or references can be added). Please send 
your abstracts electronically in pdf- and doc- or rtf-format to 
corinna_handschuh at Include your name, affiliation and the 
title of the abstract in the body of the e-mail.

Submission deadline: August 31st, 2009.

Workshop Description:

Portmanteau morphemes combine more than one meaning into a single form. 
As a theoretical concept a portmanteau is an unanalyzable unit, which 
cannot be split up into separate forms corresponding to the individual 
meanings. In actual linguistic data this strict criterion is hardly ever 
met. Most portmanteau-like forms are at least partly analyzable. Often 
they can be understood synchronically and/or diachronically as 
non-portmanteaus, either because they are formed by concatenation from 
two different forms, or because they are identical in form to 
non-portmanteau forms and one component of the meaning is understood 
through implicature.

Given this observation, portmanteaus are of vital interest for a wide 
range of linguistic subfields.
Of course, first of all morphology comes to mind. Here the question 
arises how portmanteaus are integrated into paradigms, especially if 
they are alternating with non-portmanteau forms.
Beyond this the study of portmanteaus is also highly relevant for our 
understanding of syntactic analysis, both from a theoretical and a 
psycholinguistic point of view. Related to this is the question of 
whether portmanteaus are stored as one unit or whether they are derived 
from their components at each utterance. Even though portmanteaus might 
be analyzable in a number of languages by linguists, that does not 
necessarily mean that they are actually analyzed by the speakers of that 
language. If one analyzes at least some portmanteaus as holistically 
stored by speakers, how and when does the switch from analyzing 
portmanteaus as separate forms to a unified representation come about -- 
given that portmanteaus originate from simplex morphemes? And how is 
linguistic theory able to represent this switch? This is only one of the 
many questions concerning the diachronic development of portmanteaus.
 From a typological perspective the question arises if there are any 
systematic restrictions on the distribution of portmanteaus in lexical 
inventories within and across languages? Furthermore, is the development 
of portmanteaus  constrained by any other features of the language, and how?

We invite contributions from the following areas, but not restricted to 

- typological studies of the distribution of portmanteau systems across 
- case studies of portmanteau systems, especially previously undescribed 
- diachronic studies of the development of portmanteaus
- formal analysis of portmanteau systems
- the syntactic behavior of portmanteaus
- psycho- and neurolinguistic insights on the parsing and storage of 

Corinna Handschuh
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Linguistics	phone:	+49 (0)341 3550 346
Deutscher Platz 6		fax:	+49 (0)341 3550 333
04103 Leipzig			room:	U1.42
Germany				e-mail:	corinna_handschuh at


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