25.4035, Calls: Morphology, Historical Ling, Syntax, Typology, Phonology/Netherlands

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LINGUIST List: Vol-25-4035. Mon Oct 13 2014. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 25.4035, Calls: Morphology, Historical Ling, Syntax, Typology, Phonology/Netherlands

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Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:30:18
From: Rik van Gijn [erik.vangijn at uzh.ch]
Subject: Clitics: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives

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Full Title: Clitics: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives 

Date: 02-Sep-2015 - 05-Sep-2015
Location: Leiden, Netherlands 
Contact Person: Rik van Gijn Fernando Zúñiga
Meeting Email: erik.vangijn at uzh.ch

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Phonology; Syntax; Typology 

Call Deadline: 10-Nov-2014 

Meeting Description:

The phenomenon of clitics has generated a vast body of literature, from several theoretical perspectives. Yet defining what a clitic has been compared to “trying to catch minnows with your bare hands” (Spencer & Luís 2012: xiii). Clitics are so hard to define mainly because their behavior is determined by the interaction of several parameters that are independent from each other at least to a certain extent, and that moreover interact with different areas of grammar (phonology, morphology, syntax).

In this workshop we propose to regard clitics from the perspective of language change. Clitics can be thought of as a stage in a grammaticalization process, in which elements gradually become more affix-like (or, more controversially, the reverse). Given the many independent parameters and the areas of language structure involved in how clitics behave, there are many potential pathways of change, and many different orders in which elements may change their behavioral properties. In addition, other diachronic processes have been addressed less often in the comparative literature, from stabilization of clitics to their erosion and loss. The idea behind the workshop is that taking a diachronic perspective can give us new insights into the phenomenon of clitics, different conceivable subtypes, their diachronic stability, and to what extent possible diachronic paths are areally and/or genealogically determined. The questions we would like to address include the following:

- Are (subsets of) clitics diachronically stable?
Is there much variation in the clitic inventories between related languages in terms of function, phonology, syntax, or morphology, or are they rather comparable and stable? If there is variation, what is the main locus thereof (pragmatics, semantics, syntax, phonology, morphology)? 

- Are (subsets of) clitics contact-sensitive?
Syntactic units are generally seen as more likely to undergo contact-induced change than morphological units. Do clitics fall in between these two poles, or are they actually more contact-sensitive because they are diachronically unstable and therefore more prone to change through contact?  

- Are there preferred grammaticalization paths?
Does the comparison of clitic systems of related languages suggest a particular diachronic path within that family that is consistent with what we know about the evolution of that language family? Are there preferred orders of change?

- How sensitive are different definitions of clitics to descriptive traditions?
One of the recalcitrant problems with clitics is that there seems to be no consensus on what we should and what we should not consider as clitics. One of the factors that may contribute to this problem is that different descriptive traditions for a certain language family or macro-area regard clitichood and cliticization in different ways.

Spencer, Andrew & Ana R. Luís (2012) Clitics: an introduction. Cambridge: CUP.

Call for Papers:

To try and answer the questions mentioned in the workshop description, we invite potential contributors to send in short abstracts (approx. 300 words) where clitics are regarded from a comparative perspective, both within language families and in contact situations. We particularly welcome studies of language families and contact situations that have hitherto been underrepresented in the study of clitics.

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