[Lingtyp] 2nd, updated CfP: spatial patterns of language evolution
Rik van Gijn
erik.vangijn at uzh.ch
Tue Oct 23 13:46:52 UTC 2018
(apologies for multiple postings)*
*Spatial Patterns of Language Evolution**
*Zurich, January 24, 2019
We are happy to announce Marco Túlio Pacheco Coelho as an invited
speaker. Marco Túlio is a researcher at the Biocultural Diversity &
Conservation lab at Colorado State University (USA) and at the
Theoretical Ecology and Synthesis lab at Universidade Federal de Goiás
(Brazil) where he uses methods of Biogeography, such as mechanistic
simulation models, to investigate two fundamental facts about human
diversity: why do humans speak so many languages and why are these
languages so unevenly distributed across the globe.
Languages and linguistic properties spread in geographic space either by
phylogeographic expansion (and fission) or contact. Phylogeographic
expansion is the process by which a language evolves into several
daughter languages, thereby losing and/or changing some properties of
their ancestor. Contact is the process in which speakers of different
languages interact, with the possible result of linguistic properties
spreading from one language to another. The interplay of expansion and
contact results in the current distribution of languages and linguistic
properties in geographic space. Researchers have long studied this
distribution to find patterns and relationships, and, ultimately, shed
light on the underlying mechanisms of language evolution. Recently, this
endeavor has gained considerable momentum thanks to the advance of
quantitative methods from evolutionary biology.
We can loosely distinguish between two types of studies concerned with
language evolution in space:
a)Reconstructing language evolution
Phylogeographic analysis aims to infer the expansion of language
families in space and time. Researchers have, for example, reconstructed
the most likely diffusion paths of Pama-Nyungan in Australia (Bouckaert,
et al., 2018). Recently, quantitative studies have also focused on
exploring the spread of linguistic patterns across phylogenies. A
current study tracks the emergence of the British Isles as a linguistic
area in North-Western Europe (Dedio, et al., forthcoming), i.e. a
geographic region where languages share common properties that cannot be
explained by common heritage or parallel development.
b)Exploring the interaction between space and language evolution
Studies of this type aim to show how spatial phenomena may shape and
direct language evolution. The speed of the Bantu expansion in
Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has been shown to vary with land cover
(Grollemund, et al., 2015). Moreover, environmental factors drive the
distribution and diversification of languages in space and do so to a
much stronger extent in food producing than in hunter-gatherer societies
(Derungs, et al., 2018).
In spite of considerable progress, it remains unclear to what extent we
can make generalizations with respect to the relationship between space
and language evolution(Greenhill, 2015). In order to push the debate
forward, we organize a workshop that brings together researchers from
linguistics, geography, evolutionary biology and related disciplines
interested in exploring language evolution in space.
*Invitation to submit*
We are especially interested in the following topics (but potential
contributors should not feel restricted by them):
-Phylogeographic analysis, i.e. the spatio-temporal expansion of
-Language contact, i.e. the evolution of linguistic features in space
across language families
-The mutual influence of space and language evolution, e.g. terrain,
climate, trade routes or barriers to movement
-The relationship between linguistic features and spatial phenomena
-The coevolution of linguistic features and other (human) traits in
space and time
Abstracts (150-200 words) should be submitted as pdf to
*splev.2019 at gmail.com* <mailto:splev.2019 at gmail.com>, by *November 15,
Acceptance decisions will be communicated by***November 30, 2018*.
For further information please contact *peter.ranacher at geo.uzh.ch*.
Bouckaert, R. R., Bowern, C. & Atkinson, Q. D., 2018. The origin and
expansion of Pama--Nyungan languages across Australia. /Nature Ecology &
Evolution, /p. 1.
Dedio, S., Ranacher, P. & Widmer, P., forthcoming. /Evidence for the
British Isles as a linguistic area. /
Derungs, C., Köhli, M., Weibel, R. & Bickel, B., 2018. Environmental
factors drive language density more in food-producing than in
hunter-gatherer populations. /Proceedings of the Royal Society of London
B: Biological Sciences, /Volume 285.
Greenhill, S. J., 2015. The Routledge handbook of historical
linguistics. In: C. Bowern & B. Evans, eds.:Routledge, pp. 557-578.
Grollemund, R. et al., 2015. Bantu expansion shows that habitat alters
the route and pace of human dispersals. /Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, /Volume 112, pp. 13296-13301.
Dr. Rik van Gijn
University of Zürich
Dept. of Comparative Linguistics
0041-(0)44 63 42859
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Size: 733222 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the Lingtyp