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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Conference Information



Full Title: Historical Phonology

      
Location: Lille, France
Start Date: 01-Jul-2014 - 01-Jul-2014
Contact: Roland Noske
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Diachronic studies in phonology have long been viewed as orthogonal to modern phonological theory. This is a result of the Saussurian view that language can only be understood by analysing it as a synchronic system. Diachronic studies, of the type carried out by the Neogrammarians, are thus a distraction from the essence of language.

Nevertheless, over the past 50 years, scholars have time and again pointed to the importance of diachrony to phonological theory and, conversely, to the importance of phonological theory to diachronic linguistic studies. For instance, it has been said that linguistic change can function as a 'window on the form of linguistic competence' and that 'changes may reveal hidden structure' (Kiparsky 1968: 174). Using more colourful language, the same author mentions that '[l]anguage change is for the linguist (…) what earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are for the geologist or supernovae for the astronomer' (Kiparsky 1970: 314).

Moreover, over the past few decades, modern phonological insights have been increasingly applied to variationist fields such as dialectology, sociophonetics and creole studies, thus introducing phonological theory into historical phonology through the back door, so to speak. Recently, there has been increasing interest in phonological theory among Indo-Europeanists. This is remarkable in that Indo-European studies was the preferred field of the Neogrammarian school, which is notable because the Neogrammarians did not recognize phonology as a system.

It is against this historical backdrop that diachrony has been chosen as the theme of this special session at the 2014 RFP meeting in Lille.
Linguistic Subfield: Historical Linguistics; Phonology
LL Issue: 25.1054

This is a session of the following meeting:
12th Annual Conference of the French Phonology Network

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