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Conference Information

Full Title: Variation and Diversity at Mid-level of Abstraction

Location: Tartu, Estonia
Start Date: 10-Jul-2017 - 14-Jul-2017
Contact: Natalia Levshina
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Usage-based linguistics has placed strong emphasis on explaining schematic patterns as results of abstracting from repetitive and similar individual usage events. In between these layers, at the mid-levels of linguistic abstraction, speakers are assumed to have stored many mixed patterns consisting of schematic and lexical material. Material of this kind has been shown to play an important part in the organization of a speaker’s knowledge of his/her own language. Its effects could be traced in studies of language representation (e.g. Stefanowitsch & Gries 2003 and later works), acquisition (e.g. Tomasello 2005; Lieven & Ambridge 2011), processing (e.g. Gries et al. 2005) and change (e.g. Hilpert 2012). The phenomena in question, which have been made measurable by various types of association measures, come to the fore in the study of usage as patterns emerging through repetition; they are reminiscent of the Sinclairian differentiation between the open-choice and idiom principles (Sinclair 1991: 109–115). The claim derived from such patterns is that usage relies on lexico-grammatical patterns much more intensely than the traditional distinction between lexicon and grammar, or words and schemata, etc., implies (e.g. Boas 2003; Hampe & Schönefeld 2006).

At the same time, contemporary Cognitive Linguistics places great emphasis on the variational aspects of language (e.g. Kristiansen & Dirven 2008; Croft 2009; Schmid 2015). Moreover, there is a growing awareness of the importance of linguistic diversity in Cognitive-Linguistic research, which has also been chosen as the special theme of the 14th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference. However, the overwhelming majority of cross-linguistic/lectal studies focus on linguistic patterns at very high levels of generalization, whereas most lexico-grammatical studies are based on one language (variety). Although there have been a few variational collostructional studies (e.g. dialectal variation by Wulff et al. 2007 and register variation by Schönefeld 2013), as well as cross-linguistic collostructional analyses (e.g. Gilquin 2015), such studies are the exception rather than the rule.

The aim of our theme session is to fill this gap and to create a forum for a discussion of variational and cross-linguistic studies that focus on different types of distributional co-occurrence phenomena (collostructions, colligations, collocations, lexical bundles, etc.) at the mid-level of abstraction.


Natalia Levshina (Leipzig University)
Doris Schönefeld (Leipzig University)
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Computational Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Typology
LL Issue: 27.3113

This is a session of the following meeting:
14th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference

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