LINGUIST List 9.1009

Thu Jul 9 1998

Confs: Complexity in language

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  1. Wouter Kusters, Workshop on Complexity in language contact, acquisition and change

Message 1: Workshop on Complexity in language contact, acquisition and change

Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 16:56:22 +0200
From: Wouter Kusters <>
Subject: Workshop on Complexity in language contact, acquisition and change

Workshop on Complexity in language contact, acquisition and change.
8 September 1998, Paris, France.

In colaboration with the CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique),
the LOT (Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics) is organizing some
workshops to create a forum to encourage the discussion between researchers
in linguistics from the Netherlands and France.
	One of the workshops is initiated by members of the University of
Amsterdam and has as its subject: Complexity in language contact,
acquisition and change. The workshop will take place on Tuesday the 8th of
September, starting at 14.30 until approximately 20.00h. 

The theme
Although there is a kind of dogma that all natural languages are equally
complex, at least for certain subsystems of language there may well be
differences in complexity. In discussions of processes of language change
and first and second language acquisition the notion of complexity plays an
important role. Especially in creole studies simplicity and complexity
implicitly have been dominant issues in the debate, but are seldom properly
	In this workshop we want to discuss the role of complexity in these
domains, including grammatical theory, first and second language
acquisition, language change and language contact - in order to shed light
on controversial problems invoked by the term complexity in linguistics in

The structure of the workshop
The workshop is organized around three themes: creole languages, language
acquisition and language change. Each theme will be discussed by
researchers from France and the Netherlands in 10 minutes presentations,
inspired by the following propositions. After these short presentations
there will be time for discussion in each session.

1.	All languages have the same "costs/payment" balance, i.e. if a language
becomes phonologically more simple, its morphological system will become
more complex. [cf. Haugen 1976:286]

2.	All complexity in languages resides in the lexicon. [cf. Aronoff 1995]

3.	Languages spoken within small communities are more complex than
languages of large communities. [cf. Whinnom 1980, Hymes 1971, Mhlhusler

4.	Language shift will in general lead to simplification, while borrowing
will lead generally to more complex structures. [cf. Thomason & Kaufman 1988]

5.	Complexity does not play a role in first language acquisition, but it
does in second language acquisition. [cf. Trudgill 1992]

6.	Grammaticalization leads to greater complexity. [Labov 1990, Bickerton

14.30 Chair and Opening 
Pieter Muysken (University of Amsterdam/Leiden)

14.35: Introduction
Hadewych van Rheeden (University of Amsterdam)
Wouter Kusters (University of Amsterdam)

14.55: Language acquisition
Elisabeth van der Linden (University of Amsterdam)
Daniel Veronique (Universit de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III)
Colette Noyau (Universit de Paris X)
Peter Coopmans (University of Utrecht)	

15.55: Break

16.15: Creoles
Jacques Arends (University of Amsterdam)
Adrienne Bruyn (University of Amsterdam)
Karl Gadelii (University of Gteborg)
Andree Tabouret-Keller (Universit de Strasbourg)

17.15: Break
Chair: To be announced

17.35: Language Change
Marc van Oostendorp (University of Amsterdam/ Leiden)
Fred Weerman (University of Utrecht)
Colette Feuillard (Universit Ren Descartes, Paris V)
Muriel Norde (University of Amsterdam)
Francoise Gadet (Universit de Paris X)

19.00: General discussion.

20.00: Drinks and dinner.

Please let us know if you are interested to join this workshop. If you need
more information, just contact Wouter Kusters and/or Hadewych van Rheeden:

Another workshop will be held on Wednesday the 9th, on the subject of
Competing principles in learners varieties, organized within the same joint
programme of LOT and CNRS. These workshops are immediately followed by the
Eurosla 8 Conference on Second language acquisition. For more information
on the Eurosla 8 look at

In the next newsletter the exact location of the workshop will be announced.
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