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Conference Information

Full Title: Usage-based Contact Linguistics

Location: New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Start Date: 20-May-2015 - 24-May-2015
Contact: Nikolay Khakimov
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Usage-based views on language propose that lexicon and grammar are not separate modules but regions on a continuum that ranges from phonologically specific lexical items to phonologically schematic (or 'empty') syntactic constructions (Langacker 1987, 1988, 1999; Croft 2002; Tomasello 2003; Bybee 2006, 2010). This view implies that generalizations emerge at variable degrees of specificity: patterns co-exist in a speaker's mental representation with stored exemplars of word strings that instantiate them. While simple words and fully abstract patterns, e.g. the ditransitive construction, form the two poles of the continuum, many constructions occupy in-between points on the continuum, e.g.

- Lexical chunks, defined as frequent word strings of compositional nature, e.g. don't have to worry
- Formulaic sequences, e.g. How are you?; I think
- Idioms, e.g. the bane of my existence
- Partially schematic constructions, whether morphological in nature, e.g. plural [N-(e)s], or morphosyntactic, e.g. predicative [I'm Adj] or quotative [and she's like X]

The various phenomena exemplified above have been noted to make the jump from one language to another in bilingual speech. Insertional codeswitching often involves lexical chunks (Backus 1996, 2003); alternational codeswitching relies on formulaic sequences and frequently used turns of phrase; loan translations introduce not just new lexical combinations but also constructional features associated with the model expressions in the source language; and grammatical interference brings in new schematic constructions.

The premise of this thematic session is that an integration of diverse explanations for the aforementioned phenomena is possible once the perspective of the usage-based approach is adopted, since under this approach function (or 'meaning'), structure (or 'form') and processing (or 'cognitive basis of speech') are explicitly related to each other. Various recent studies have explored these issues (e.g. Doğruöz & Backus 2009; Doğruöz & Gries 2012; Frick 2013; Backus 2013; Zenner, Speelman & Geeraerts 2013; Khakimov forthc.). Empirically, much of this work is concerned with multiword insertions, and contact-induced constructional change, but interest in other domains, such as fixed expressions instantiating alternational codeswitching is growing.


Ad Backus (Tilburg University)
Nikolay Khakimov (University of Freiburg)
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 25.3154

This is a session of the following meeting:
International Symposium on Bilingualism

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