[Lingtyp] CfP, workshop at SLE 2018

Wiemer, Bjoern wiemerb at uni-mainz.de
Mon Oct 9 21:10:13 UTC 2017

Sorry for possible multiple postings.

Call for Papers
for a workshop at the SLE Annual Conference 2018, Tallinn

Björn Wiemer (U Mainz)
Gilles Authier (EPHE, Paris)
John Peterson (U Kiel)

The study of (micro-)areal patterns in Eurasia

The past 20-30 years have witnessed an enormous increase in interest in areal biases of basic grammatical patterns. Among others, Europe has been identified as a linguistic area which stands out if we compare the features of ‘Standard Average European’ (SAE) with their world-wide distribution, for instance, the relative pronoun strategy or HAVE-verbs and grammatical paradigms based on these (perfects, causatives); cf. Haspelmath (2001), Heine/Kuteva (2006). At the same time, the “SAE-periphery”, namely languages in Eastern Europe, often turn out to form merely part of larger clines which stretch throughout (northern) Eurasia; e.g. non-nominative experiencers, preference for non-finite predicates of independent clauses, locative comparatives, etc. On the other hand, areal clines and clusters within Europe (and adjacent parts of Asia) have been discovered which show that larger areas can be very heterogeneous internally; compare, e.g., external possessors (Haspelmath 1999; Van de Velde/Lamiroy 2017), reflexive-reciprocal polysemy (Wiemer, forthcoming: §5.3), future gram types (Wiemer/Hansen 2012: 104-112; Wiemer, forthcoming: §4). Thus, as we examine presumed linguistic areas in ever greater detail, we also increasingly discover heterogeneity within them, forcing us to refine our defining criteria.
But regardless of how fine-grained our criteria are and how we define the limits of a particular linguistic area, the true nature of this area can only be evaluated against the background of larger areas that, as it were, encirculate it (Wiemer 2004). This is why attempts at defining linguistic areas usually end up with relatively arbitrary decisions about the criteria, the number of language varieties and/or the size of the area itself (Bisang 2006; Stolz 2006; Wiemer/Wächli 2012: 14-18, among others). The observation that specific properties of an area only become apparent if this area is evaluated against the background of its larger geographic and linguistic surroundings is taken up in Wiemer (forthcoming), who posits the so-called “matrёški” approach, which should also be applied in dialect geography.
            In fact, the same problems in defining areas, or in determining areal clusters and clines, have also recently become apparent in studies in dialectology, in particular in dialect geography aided by dialectometrical methods based on aggregates of often heterogeneous features (e.g., Heeringa/Nerbonne 2001; Szmrecsanyi 2013). The latter can in principle be compared with methods applied in macro-areal typology (Nichols 1992; Bickel 2015). The question is whether methods of the latter domain can reasonably be applied to much smaller areas, and opinions differ considerably on this issue. While some scholars are optimistic that the methods of macro-areal typology are equally apt for discovering micro-areal clines and clusters (cf., for instance, Borin 2013: 5), others are more skeptical (cf. Dahl 2001; Wälchli 2012). This is primarily because macro-areal patterns usually result from cumulative effects of polygenetic origin (i.e. at different places and times within a particular area), whereas in micro-areas, in particular in dialect continua, the “constant spread of a feature across an originally homogeneous area from a single starting point”, i.e., the wave model, seems to provide a more adequate explanation (Wälchli 2012: 264f., also 235). This, however, is an empirical question which to our knowledge has rarely, if ever, been seriously put to the test.
Micro-areal studies have the advantage that they allow for more in-depth scrutiny and allow us to account for diastratic differentiation more easily, provided that adequate corpora or databases exist. Diastratic variation of linguistic features has more often than not been neglected in typological work (such as the Eurotype-project in the 1990’s), and outside of the English-speaking world dialectology has paid little, if any, attention to diastratic diversification (as for East Slavic cf. Wiemer/Seržant 2014: 15-26). Moreover, for large areas it has been emphasized that one should not only deal with spectacular cases (Wälchli 2012) and that it is a mistake to contrast the close association of diffusion and contact with genealogical affiliation, as these two sources of convergence need not contradict one another but may rather reinforce each other (Dahl 2001: 1457). These caveats are particularly appropriate when closely related languages (or varieties of one language) are studied, and here as well the goals of areal typology and dialect geography converge. That is, research into dialect variation should not stop at borders between language families, but neither should areal linguistics neglect possibilities of cross-fertilization with dialect geography, at least when dealing with diffusion, convergence and divergence on a smaller geographical scale. Moreover, larger areal clines can intersect with dialect continua of the languages (or language groups) involved (e.g., Balkan features • South Slavic, perfect > past in Central Europe).
On the basis of these considerations, we can briefly summarize the following for three larger regions in Eurasia:

·      Northern Eurasia has often been the focus of studies concerning Transeurasian areal studies. However, a large part of these studies have concentrated on procedures that help to prove (or reject) hypotheses concerning the genealogical relationship of Japonic to Altaic (cf. contributions to Johanson/Robbeets (eds.) 2010; Robbeets 2015), and on studies showing the internal differentiation of Uralic, Turkic and Mongolic, particularly in terms of grammaticalization (cf. contributions to Robbeets/Cuyckens (eds.) 2013 and to Robbeets/Bisang (eds.) 2014).

·      The relation of Eastern Europe to the Caucasus on the one hand and to the western part of Europe on the other, has recently been highlighted by Arkadiev (2015) in his comprehensive diachronic and areal study on verbal preverbs and prefixes and their role in the rise of aspect systems. At the micro-areal level, Authier/Maisak (2011) have demonstrated convergence phenomena in the Caucasus in the systems of tense, aspect and modality marking, while Authier (2010) shows morphological ‘matter’ borrowing between genetically non-related languages.

·      Work on South Asia as a language area dates back at least to Bloch (1934), but only reached a larger linguistic audience with the appearance of Emeneau’s (1956) seminal study on this area. Since then, an extensive literature on this topic has appeared, much of it somewhat skeptical of the idea (cf. Masica 1976 for an overview), while more recent studies tend to focus on micro-areas in the region rather than South Asia as a whole (cf., e.g., Abbi 1997; Osada 1991; Peterson 2017a on eastern-central South Asia), focusing in most cases on convergences between the different genealogical groups of the subcontinent which suggest long-term contact. More recently, however, the same methods are also being used to highlight major divisions within the language families of South Asia, suggesting large-scale language shifting at an earlier period (Peterson 2017b).

The workshop is intended to foster dialogue between specialists in particular language (sub-) families of Eurasia, areal linguistics/dialect geography, and quantitative linguistics. Regardless of their field of specialization, participants should share an interest in diachronic developments, language contact and diastratic (and diatopic) variation and should appreciate the role of language contact in structural change.

            The workshop invites contributions addressing at least one area and/or language group in Eurasia which focus on one or more of the following topics:

·      Which methods allow us to identify hidden or complex patterns in areas of different geographical scope (and demographic/linguistic density)? Both macro-areal and micro-areal studies are welcome, particularly if these serve to discuss patterns that become salient when the larger geographical surrounding is taken into account.

·      Can methods used in macro-areal research be applied to micro-areas and to areas with a high number of closely related varieties? This includes dialect continua, possibly intertwining with larger areal clines.

·      How does seemingly free variation become meaningful (e.g., by being lexicalized, e.g., with phonetic or morphological variants)?

·      Can we determine in which contact situations some language A triggers or reinforces minor patterns (in phonology, morphology and/or syntax) in another language B? More specifically, does A influence the productivity of some pattern in B and/or its status in B’s grammar? Have there been chain effects between adjacent languages yielding a family resemblance of linguistic structures (including the productivity of patterns) over larger areas? How can we distinguish contact-induced features from inherited features and from the influence of general communicative and/or cognitive factors? What role is played by frequency?

Contributions on phenomena from all areas of grammar are welcome, especially those dealing with verb morphology/categories, clausal complementation and/or analyses based on feature aggregates.
            Potential participants are requested to send a preliminary abstract (of up to 300 words, exclusive of references) by November 10, to the following address:

Björn Wiemer                         wiemerb at uni-mainz.de<mailto:wiemerb at uni-mainz.de>

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Arkadiev [Arkad’ev], Peter M. 2015: Areal’naja tipologija prefiksal’nogo perfektiva. Moskva: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury.
Authier, Gilles 2010: Azeri morphology in Kryz (East-Caucasian). Turkic Languages 14, 14–42.
Authier, Gilles & Timur Maisak (eds.) 2011: Tense, mood, aspect and finiteness in East Caucasian languages. Bochum: Brockmeyer.
Bickel, Balthasar 2015: Distributional typology: statistical inquiries into the dynamics of linguistic diversity. In: Heine, Bernd & Heiko Narrog (eds.): Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford U.P.
Bisang, Walter 2006: Contact-Induced Convergences: Typology and Areality. In: Brown, Keith (ed.): Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., vol. 3. Oxford: Elsevier, 88-101.
Bloch, Jule 1934: L’indo-aryen. Du Veda aux temps modernes. Paris: Adrien–Maisonneuve.
Borin, Lars 2013: The why and how of measuring linguistic differences. In: Borin, Lars & Anju Saxena (eds.): Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 3-25.
Dahl, Östen 2001: Principles of areal typology. In: Haspelmath, Martin, Ekkehard König, Wolfgang Österreicher & Wolfgang Raible (eds.): Language Typology and Language Universals (An International Handbook), vol. 2. Berlin, New     York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1456–1470.
Emeneau, Murray B. 1956: India as a linguistic area. Language 32, 3–16.
Haspelmath, Martin 1999: External possession in a European areal perspective. In: Payne, Doris L. & Immanuel Barshi (eds.): External possession. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins, 109-135.
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Johanson, Lars & Martine Robbeets (eds.) 2010: Transeurasian verbal morphology in a comparative perspective: genealogy, contact, chance. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
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Masica, Colin P. 2001: The definition and significance of linguistic areas: Methods, pitfalls, and possibilities (with special reference to the validity of South Asia as a linguistic area). In: Singh, Rajendra (ed.): The Yearbook of South Asian
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Nichols, Johanna 1992: Linguistic diversity in space and time. Chicago: Chicago U.P.
Osada, Toshiki. 1991: Linguistic convergence in the Chotanagpur area. In: Mullick, S. Bosu (ed.): Cultural Chotanagpur. Unity in diversity. New Delhi: Uppal Publishing House, 99–119.
Peterson, John. 2017a: Jharkhand as a ‘linguistic area’ – Language contact between Indo-Aryan and Munda in eastern-central South Asia. In: Hickey, Raymond (ed.): The Cambridge handbook of areal linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge
            U.P., 551-574.
Peterson, John. 2017b: Fitting the pieces together. Towards a linguistic prehistory of eastern-central South Asia (and beyond). Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 4-2, 211-257.
Robbeets, Martine 2015: Diachrony of verb morphology: Japanese and the other Transeurasian languages. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Robbeets, Martine & Hubert Cuyckens (eds.) 2013: Shared Grammaticalization (With special focus on the Transeurasian languages). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Robbeets, Martine & Walter Bisang (eds.) 2014: Paradigm Change (In the Transeurasian languages and beyond). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Stolz, Thomas 2006: All or Nothing. In: Matras, Yaron, April McMahon & Nigel Vincent (eds.): Linguistic Areas (Convergence in Historical and Typological Perspective). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 32-50.
Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt 2013: Grammatical variation in British English Dialects (A Study in Corpus-Based Dialectometry). Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.
Van de Velde, Freek & Béatrice Lamiroy 2017: External possessors in West Germanic and Romance: Differential speed in the drift toward NP configurationality. In: Van Olmen, Daniel, Hubert Cuyckens & Lobke Ghesquière (eds.):
            Aspects of Grammaticalization. (Inter)Subjectification and Directionality. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 353-400.
Wälchli, Bernhard 2012: Grammaticalization clines in space: Zooming in on synchronic traces of diffusion processes. In: Wiemer, Björn, Bernhard Wälchli & Björn Hansen (eds.): Grammatical Replication and Borrowability in
            Language Contact. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 233-272.
Wiemer, Björn 2004: Population linguistics on a micro-scale. Lessons to be learnt from Baltic and Slavic dialects in contact. In: Kortmann, Bernd (ed.): Dialectology Meets Typology (Dialect Grammar from a Cross-Linguistic Perspective). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 497-526.
Wiemer, Björn (forthcoming): Matrёška and areal clusters involving varieties of Slavic: On           methodology and data treatment. In: Danylenko, Andrii & Motoki Nomachi (eds.): Slavic in the Language Map of Europe. Berlin, Boston: De
            Gruyter Mouton (TiLSM).
Wiemer, Björn & Björn Hansen 2012: Assessing the range of contact-induced grammaticalization in Slavonic. In: Wiemer, Björn, Bernhard Wälchli & Björn Hansen (eds.): Grammatical Replication and Borrowability in Language
            Contact. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 67-155.
Wiemer, Björn & Ilja Seržant 2014: East Slavic Dialectology: Achievements and Perspectives of Areal Linguistics. In: Seržant, Ilja A. & Björn Wiemer (eds.): Contemporary Approaches to Dialectology. The Area of North, North-West Russian
            and Belarusian Dialects. Bergen: University of Bergen, 11-80.
Wiemer, Björn & Bernhard Wälchli 2012: Contact-induced grammatical change: Diverse phenomena, diverse perspectives. In: Wiemer, Björn, Bernhard Wälchli & Björn Hansen (eds.): Grammatical Replication and Borrowability in
            Language Contact. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 3–64.

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Björn Wiemer
Professor für slavische Sprachwissenschaft
Institut für Slavistik, Turkologie und zirkumbaltische Studien (Abt. Slavistik)
Jakob-Welder-Weg 18
D- 55128 Mainz
tel. +49/ 6131/ 39 -22186
fax. +49/ 6131/ 39 -24709
wiemerb at uni-mainz.de<mailto:wiemerb at uni-mainz.de>

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