"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
Research on grammaticalisation and lexicalisation usually assumes a functional or semantic change as the first step of the development. However, it is less clear what prompts this change in the first place. The background hypothesis to this conference is that sub-grammatical restrictions on the way items can be combined in constructions, which then develop into lexical or grammatical units, play a pivotal role in motivating these crucial functional and semantic changes. That is, the synchronic combinability of words can shape paths of grammaticalisation and lexicalisation. The conference brings together researchers investigating this hypothesis especially in the context of periphrastic passive constructions in the languages of Europe, but also from a typological and theoretical viewpoint.
Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Syntax