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LINGUIST List 24.2061

Wed May 15 2013

Calls: Syntax, Socioling, Morphology, Ling Theories, Language Acquisition/USA

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

Date: 14-May-2013
From: Jeffrey Parrott <jkparrottgmail.com>
Subject: Variation and Syntax: Where Are We Now, and Where Do We Go Next?
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Full Title: Variation and Syntax: Where Are We Now, and Where Do We Go Next?

Date: 06-Jul-2013 - 07-Jul-2013
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Contact Person: Jeffrey Parrott
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition; Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Sociolinguistics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 30-May-2013

Meeting Description:

Variation and Syntax: Where Are We Now, and Where Do We Go Next?

Co-organized by Alan Munn, Michigan State University & Jeffrey Keith Parrott, University of Copenhagen
Supported by National Science Foundation BCS-1265444

July 6-7, 2013
2013 LSA Linguistic Institute
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

This workshop responds to the growing interest in reconciling the study of sociolinguistic variation with syntactic theory. These vital subfields of scientific inquiry into human language have been estranged virtually since their inception, with longstanding disputes centered on fundamental methodological and theoretical issues. Rigorous investigation of the entire body of phenomena that comprise syntactic variation requires a complementary fusion of sociolinguistic fieldwork methods, variationist statistical analysis, and adapted syntactic elicitation and experimentation techniques. However, recent work has demonstrated that variationist empirical methods are indeed well suited for investigating variable phenomena of relevance to syntactic theorizing, and furthermore that independently motivated models of syntax and morphology have become sufficiently articulated that plausible formal mechanisms of intra- and inter-individual variation can be proposed.

The workshop thus has dual objectives. The first is to develop explicit strategies for evaluating competing theories of variation and syntax, which requires synthesizing current knowledge, enumerating areas of consensus, and resolving recalcitrant disputes. For example, one influential approach holds that syntactic variation should be analyzed as ‘multiple grammars’; another that variation reduces to syntactic configurations; while still other accounts have located variable mechanisms in features of lexical primitives or the interfaces of grammatical architecture. Theoretical insights should preferably generate empirically testable predictions about the relationship between intra- and inter-individual variability.

The second objective is to stimulate collaborative research beyond the conventional domains of either variationist sociolinguistics or theoretical syntax. For instance, recent work has begun to explore the application of both refined syntactic theoretical concepts and modified variationist empirical methods to the study of second- or first-language acquisition, multi-lingualism or -dialectalism, language/dialect attrition or death, heritage languages or dialects, language processing, social cognition, language evolution, and other emerging topics involving syntactic variation. This raises challenges to the program of building a cross-disciplinary approach, while increasing the prospects for a broader view of the fundamental issues and hence unification of an even greater scope.

To such ends, this workshop brings some of the most prominent scholars on syntactic variation from Europe and North America together with students and young researchers at the 2013 Linguistic Society of America Linguistic Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, an ideal venue for intense cross-disciplinary interaction. The six prominent linguists listed below have agreed to give plenary talks and panel commentary at the workshop, which will also feature ten 30-minute talks, as well as plenty of time allotted for general discussion.

David Adger, Queen Mary, University of London
Leonie Cornips, Meertens Institute, Amsterdam
Bill Haddican, Queens College, City University of New York
Cristina Schmitt, Michigan State University
Jennifer Smith, University of Glasgow
Sali Tagliamonte, University of Toronto

Call for Papers:

We hereby cordially invite abstracts for 30-minute presentations dealing with the workshop topics from any theoretical or methodological perspective. Abstracts should be submitted as a PDF document no longer than 2 pages including all figures and references. Submissions will be (one-way) anonymously reviewed by the co-organizers and invited speakers, and therefore should not include identifying information. Abstracts will be selected so as to achieve the aims of the workshop in evaluating competing theories of syntax and variation while opening up new questions in acquisition, dialect emergence, language obsolescence, processing of variability, inter alia.

Please email PDF abstracts to syntaxvariationworkshopgmail.com by May 30, 2013. Accepted authors will be notified by June 7, 2013.

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