[Lingtyp] CALL: Diachronic morphology: theoretical, areal, and phylogenetic perspectives

Rik van Gijn erik.vangijn at uzh.ch
Wed Jun 1 14:04:36 UTC 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.

/Keynote speakers/

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 
of change

·The diachronic behavior of lexicon-like morphology and morphology-like 

·Fine-grained approaches to the areal and genealogical behavior of 
morphological types

·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 
areal diffusion

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 

·Already registered? --> Log in

·Not yet registered? --> Click on the “sign up for an account” and fill 
out the form. The system will send you an e-mail with the instructions 
how to finish the registration.

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 
California Press.

Dr. Rik van Gijn
University of Zürich
Dept. of Comparative Linguistics
Plattenstrasse 54
CH-8032 Zürich
0041-(0)44 63 42859

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20160601/81a2d4a5/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list