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LINGUIST List 21.3858

Sat Oct 02 2010

Calls: Historical Ling/Japan

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Evie Coussé, Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change

Message 1: Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change
Date: 01-Oct-2010
From: Evie Coussé <evie.cousseugent.be>
Subject: Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change
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Full Title: Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change

Date: 25-Jul-2011 - 30-Jul-2011
Location: Osaka, Japan
Contact Person: Evie Coussé
Meeting Email: evie.cousseugent.be

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Call Deadline: 13-Oct-2010

Meeting Description:

Most approaches to language (change) have principally in common that
they locate the main explanandum of language in the human mind and that
they operate with categories. Change is, implicitly or explicitly, seen as a
shift of a linguistic form from one category to another - whether across
discrete or fuzzy boundaries. A well-know example of this view is the
importance of reanalysis in explaining language change in mainstream
historical linguistics. Reanalysis is considered to be the underlying
mechanism that motivates changing patterns in usage such as contextual
extension and increasing generalization / abstraction in meaning.

However, alternative views have also been expressed, in which linguistic
structure is seen as subject to constant negotiation in communication.
Hopper's (1998) Emergent Grammar or Keller's (1994) Invisible Hand are
prominent examples. Without denying the share that cognition has in the
production of utterances and the usefulness of categories for linguistic
description, structure is seen as epiphenomenal in these approaches.
Structure is in a constant flux across time, area and social strata and,
therefore, language use or actual communication are the loci of structure
formation and hence of change.

In line with this usage-based perspective of language and language
change, an alternative for reanalysis has been proposed in which
(changing) discourse patterns are directly related to meaning without
referring to changes in abstract structures (e.g. Bybee e.a 1994,
Haspelmath 1998, De Smet 2009). However, a larger coherent vision of the
relation between language usage and language change is still largely

The workshop aims at discussing possibilities for such a usage-based
framework on language change. We wish to combine case studies with
theoretical contributions that help setting up a comprehensive model on
language change, in which language use is in the focus and in which the
core properties of language are seen in its dynamics rather than in its


Bybee, J., R. Perkins & W. Pagliuca (1994) The evolution of grammar.
Tense, aspect, and modality in the languages of the world. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.

De Smet, H. (2009) Analysing reanalysis. In: Lingua 119, 1728-1755.

Haspelmath, M. (1998) Does grammaticalization need reanalysis? In:
Studies in Language 22, 315-351.

Hopper, P.J. (1998) Emergent grammar. In: M. Tomasello (ed.) The new
psychology of grammar: cognitive and functional approaches to language
structure. Mahwah: Erlbaum: 155-176.

Keller, R. (1994) On language change. The invisible hand in language.
London: Routlegde.

Call For Papers

At present, the workshop needs to be approved and accepted by the
conference organizers of ICHL 2011. Deadline for submission of the
workshop proposal is 15 October 2010. We invite interested speakers to
send us before that deadline their interest for participation and a preliminary
title of their potential contribution, that will be submitted along with the
workshop proposal. Please, mail evie.cousseugent.be or f.vmfu-
berlin.de with your preliminary title.

Upon notification of acceptance of the workshop by the ICHL organizers
(expected shortly after 15 October 2010), we will launch the definitive call
for papers as soon as possible. Submission of paper abstracts will go via
the ICHL conference website http://www.ichl2011.com. Deadline for paper
abstracts is set by the organizers on 15 January 2011.
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