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Conference Information

Full Title: Balkan Text: Morphosyntax, Structures, Genres

Location: Munich, Germany
Start Date: 13-Dec-2013 - 14-Dec-2013
Contact: Barbara Sonnenhauser
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Kopitar’s well-known characterisation of Bulgarian, Romanian and Albanian as having one form but different substances can be taken as first description of the Balkan sprachbund. Research since then has focused mainly on similarities on the phonological, morphosyntactic and lexical level. Possible analogies on the text level have come into the focus of attention only recently, e.g. Fielder (1999) on Turkish-Bulgarian convergences as regards the structuring of narratives or Friedman (2012) on Balkan epics. Asenova (2002: 296-297) assumes the similarity in the syntactic systems of the Balkan languages to suggest also a similarity in the structure of the different languages’ ‘variants of the Balkan text’.

It has been proposed (cf. Fielder 1995, Sonnenhauser 2014) that Balkan morphosyntactic features like the (tripartite) definite article and the renarrative forms contribute to the introduction of different points of view in the text, such as narrator and character. This, in turn, seems to be a crucial factor concerning the representation of the relation between narrator and narration. Another relevant aspect may be the semiotic distinction ‘self’ vs. ‘other’ (Civ’jan 2005). Moreover, genre is assumed to have an impact on the interpretation of narrative features (cf. Čakărova 2004). The diachronic development of these features and their functional dimension is being investigated in Sonnenhauser (2013).

Taking the above assumptions as starting point, the workshop aims at investigating the ‘Balkan text’ from a linguistic perspective, focusing on morphosyntactic features, narrative structures, shared topics and common genres from a synchronic and diachronic perspective.

Possible topics include – but are not restricted to – the following aspects:

- Function and interplay of Balkan morphosyntactic features on the text level
- Introduction and role of different points of view in the Balkan text, also against the background of the semiotic distinction ‘self’ vs. ‘other’
- Interrelation between genre and the usage of specific Balkan structures as well as their interpretation
- Origin of common topics and their adoption in the different Balkan languages
- Structuring of the Balkan text taking into account also the factor of orality
- Diachronic development of Balkan morphosyntactic features in connection with emergences of specific genres


Asenova, P. 2002. Balkansko ezikoznanie. Osnovni problemi na balkanskija ezikov săjuz. Veliko Tărnovo.
Civ’jan, Т. V. 2005. Model’ mira i ee lingvističeskie osnovy. Moskva.
Čakărova, K. 2004. On the question of narrative variations in Bulgarian prose. (, 02.07.2013)
Fielder, G. 1995. Narrative perspective and the Bulgarian l-participle. The Slavic and East European Journal 39(4), 585-600.
Fielder, G. 1999. The origin of evidentiality in the Balkans: linguistic convergence or conceptual convergence? Mediterranean Language Review 11, 59-89.
Friedman, V. 2012. Balkan epic cyclicity: a view from the languages. Bohlmann, P. & N. Petković (eds.). Balkan epic. Song, history, modernity. Lanham, 293-309.
Sonnenhauser, B. 2013. The emergence of narrativity in Early Neo-Balkan Slavic. (, 04.07.2013)
Sonnenhauser, B. 2014. Constructing perspectivity in Balkan Slavic. Auxiliary variation and tripartite article. Balkanistica 27, 31-66.

Plenary Speakers:

Lars Johanson (University of Mainz)
Thede Kahl (University of Jena / Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Morphology; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
LL Issue: 24.3627

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