[Lingtyp] Cfp: SLE 2018 workshop "Circum-Baltic languages: varieties, typology and change"
helle.metslang at ut.ee
Sun Nov 5 14:47:01 UTC 2017
Call for abstracts
Workshop proposed for the 51th Annual Meeting of the /Societas
Linguistica Europaea/, Tallinn, 29th August -- 1st September 2018
*Circum-Baltic languages: varieties, typology and change *
**Convenors: Liina Lindström (University of Tartu), Helle Metslang
(University of Tartu), Andra Kalnac(a (University of Latvia)
The languages of the Circum-Baltic region belong primarily to the
Indo-European (Baltic, Slavic, Germanic) and Uralic (Finnic, Saami)
families. These languages have historically developed common features
which have triggered discussions over a possible /Sprachbund/ (see
e.g.Stolz 1991). The University of Stockholm research project "Language
typology around the Baltic Sea" (1991--1996) yielded the 2001 compendium
"The Circum-Baltic languages" (Dahl, Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2001a, 2001b), in
which it was concluded that the region is more properly regarded as a
contact superposition zone (Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Wälchli 2001). The
Indo-European languages of this region are considered close to Standard
Average European (SAE) languages, while the Uralic languages fall on the
periphery of SAE or outside of it entirely (Haspelmath 1998, 2001). The
area as a whole forms part of a buffer zone between SAE and Central
Eurasia (Wälchli 2011).
Language comparison and typological generalizations have thus far been
based overwhelmingly on studies of standard language. It has been
observed that the SAE features are more typical of the standard forms of
European language than their non-standard variants (Fiorentino 2007,
Seiler 2016). If a language lacks an established standard form, studies
rely on other available material, primarily from dialects. Thus a single
language form is often taken to represent the language as a whole. In
order to obtain a more accurate picture, it is necessary to analyze the
languages of this region in all their variety, to compare different
forms of the same language as well as similar/analogous forms of
different languages. Without including non-standard language varieties,
the resulting picture is coarse and one-sided, from both a static and a
dynamic perspective (Kortmann 2010, Murelli, Kortmann 2011, Auwera 2011,
Wälchli 2011, Szmrecsanyi, Wälchli 2014).
The rapid development of corpora in the 21^st century creates better
opportunities for comparison of language variants. Corpora may represent
different registers, regional dialects, idiolects, communication
channels (verbal, written, online) etc. Such diverse corpus material is
well-suited for identifying characteristic features of particular
language variants. Direct comparisons of usage in different languages
are made possible by parallel corpora of texts translated into many
languages, such as European Parliament and United Nations texts, popular
fiction texts, the Bible, etc. (Cysouw, Wälchli 2007, Dahl 2007). The
use of parallel corpora also highlights the need to consider different
registers: these corpora offer comparisons of one written register,
which may in different languages reflect very different sociolinguistic
factors and which may differ considerably from other variants of the
The Circum-Baltic language area has developed as a result of historical
contacts between historical language forms. In the modern world,
language contact is no longer as dependent on geography; interaction
takes place online and English has become the /lingua franca/. Changes
are being observed which are bringing languages on the periphery of SAE
closer to typical SAE languages (Heine, Kuteva 2006, see also Lindström,
Tragel 2010, Metslang 2009). The boundaries of language areas may not be
stable, and they may be formed by shared or diverging trends of language
change rather than by the presence or absence of stable features (see
We welcome presentations which bring new data and knowledge regarding
the common and distinctive features of Circum-Baltic languages:
-concerning standard or non-standard varieties of Circum-Baltic
languages using data reflecting actual language use (e.g. corpora)
-concerning different levels of language (phonetics and phonology;
morphosyntax; (lexical) semantics and pragmatics) from typological
-pointing out the changes taking place in this region both in terms of
individual language features as well as in the delimitation of the
language area itself.
Please send your provisional abstract to Helle Metslang (metslang at ut.ee
<mailto:metslang at ut.ee>) and/or Andra Kalnac(a (kalnaca at latnet.lv
<mailto:kalnaca at latnet.lv>). Abstracts must not exceed 300 words
excluding references. Deadline: *Sunday, 12 November 2017*.
*ReferencesF ABSTCTS BOOK OF *2016
*Auwera, Johan 2011,*Standard Average European. -- Bernd Kortmann, Johan
van der Auwera (eds.), The Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A
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Heinrich Hock.) De Gruyter Mouton, 291--306.
*Campbell, Lyle 2016,*Why is it so Hard to Define a Linguistic Area? -
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*Cysouw, Michael & Wälchli, Bernhard 2007,*Parallel texts: using
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*Dahl, Östen 2007, *From questionnaires to parallel corpora in
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