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LINGUIST List 22.5007

Mon Dec 12 2011

Confs: Morphology, Comp Ling, Typology, Historical Ling/UK

Editor for this issue: Amy Brunett <brunettlinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Matthew Baerman , Morphological Complexity

Message 1: Morphological Complexity
Date: 11-Dec-2011
From: Matthew Baerman <m.baermansurrey.ac.uk>
Subject: Morphological Complexity
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Morphological Complexity

Date: 13-Jan-2012 - 15-Jan-2012
Location: London, United Kingdom
Contact: Matthew Baerman
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://www2.surrey.ac.uk/english/smg/researchprojects/morphologicalcomplexity/conference_2012/

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Typology

Meeting Description:

Morphological Complexity

The Surrey Morphology Group will be convening a three-day conference ‘Morphological Complexity’, to be held January 13-15 2012 at the British Academy in London. This is part of a larger project funded by the European Research Council (grant ERC-2008-AdG-230268 MORPHOLOGY). Conference organizers are Matthew Baerman, Greville Corbett and Dunstan Brown.

Theme of the Conference:

Although inflectional morphology could provide a consistent one-to-one mapping between form and function, it seldom does. Inflectional systems have their own structure which may operate at cross purposes to the grammatical systems whose realisation is their putative reason for being. For example, words may fall into different inflection classes, as in English, where the past tense of some verbs is formed by a suffix (walked), others by a vowel alternation (sang), without any difference in meaning or function. Or the forms may be syncretic, in that the shape of the paradigm fails to match the feature values, as with the future tense paradigm of French verbs, which conflate two values of person in the singular (e.g. səra ‘you/she will be’) and in the plural (sərõ ‘we/they will be’). Both inflection classes and syncretism make for non-congruence between grammatical meaning and morphological form, and so constitute a kind of uniquely morphological complexity, that is, autonomous morphological structure that must be accounted for in its own right. This complexity is further compounded by the existence of multiple and distributed exponence. For example, in the Chinantecan languages (Oto-Manguean languages of Mexico), subject agreement and TAM marking is expressed, inter alia, by suffixes, tone and stem alternations, each of which falls into separate inflection classes and follows distinct patterns of syncretism.

The consequences of morphological complexity for linguistics in general have long been unappreciated, due in part to the extreme cross-linguistic diversity it manifests. But the last several years have seen a marked increase in scientific activity in this field, as techniques in psycholinguistics, information theory, and morphological and computational analysis have become more sophisticated and nuanced. We therefore convene this conference to in order to bring together what might otherwise be scattered lines of research.

Invited Speakers:

Stephen Anderson (Yale)
Mark Donohue (Australian National University)
William Marslen-Wilson (Cambridge)
Vito Pirrelli (Pisa)
Gregory Stump (Kentucky)


The conference is open to all, and there will be no registration fee. However, if you are planning to attend we do request that you inform us by sending a message to morphological.complexity AT gmail.com by no later than January 4th, 2012.

Conference on Morphological Complexity

Friday, January 13


Stephen Anderson (Yale)
'Dimensions of Morphological Complexity'


Fred Karlsson (Helsinki)
'Paradigm Complexity'

Jean-Pierre Koenig & Karin Michelson (Buffalo)
'How Complex can the Paradigm for a Single Position Class Be?'

Marina Chumakina & Greville Corbett (Surrey)
'Gender Number Marking in Archi: Small is Complex'

Saturday, January 14

Gregory Stump (Kentucky)
'What are Principal Parts?'

Erich Round (Queensland)
'Abstract Architectural Properties of Round's (2009) Morphomic Analysis of


Maris Camilleri (Surrey)
'Stem Patterns in Modern Standard Arabic and Syrian Arabic'

Paul O'Neill (Sheffield)
'Morphological Complexity and the Morphome'


Mark Donohue (Australian National University)
title to be confirmed

Paulo Milizia (Cassino)
'Patterns of Syncretism and Paradigm Complexity: the Case of Old and Middle Indic Declension'


Ana Paula Huback (Columbia)
'Variation in Inflectional Morphology in Brazilian Portuguese'

Martin Maiden (Oxford)
'What is Complex? Monstrous Birth and Perverse Survival in Romance'

Oscar Strik (Groningen)
'Analogical Modelling of Tense Marking Changes in Frisian and Swedish'

Sunday, Janary 15

William Marslen-Wilson (Cambridge)
'Neurobiological Substrates for Morphological Computation'

Jana Reifegerste (Max PIanck Institute, Nijmegen)
'The Influence of Working Memory on the Mental Representation of Polymorphemic Words in Dutch'


Vito Pirrelli (Pisa)
'Computational Issues in Morphology Learning'

Jochen Trommer & Sebastian Bank (Leipzig)
'Learning and the Complexity of Ø-Affixation'

Concluding Remarks

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