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Linguistic Variation

Call Deadline: 05-Dec-2014

Call Information:
Special Issue Call for Papers: The Locus of Linguistic Variation

Early accounts of generative grammar (e.g., Chomsky 1965) postulated a firm separation between the variability present in language production and the grammar itself. Performance was regarded as extraneous to the key object of study, grammatical competence. Around the same time, early researchers in sociolinguistics moved to explicitly integrate variation into the grammar, developing such concepts as inherent variability (Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog 1968) and variable rules (Cedergren and Sankoff 1974). Half a century and three major ''waves'' of sociolinguistic scholarship later, the study of language- and speaker-internal variation has grown into a substantial linguistic discipline.

This special issue of Linguistic Variation revisits the two early perspectives sketched here, asks what we have learned in the intervening decades, and puts forward for consideration new views on the relationship between variation and the grammar. We solicit paper submissions that do one or more of the following: 1) take a position on how variation should be integrated into, or dissociated from, the grammatical architecture; 2) argue for their perspective on variation and grammar based on specific, preferably quantitative or experimental, data; 3) integrate psycholinguistic evidence into the discussion of how grammatical knowledge relates to language variation in context.

Linguistic Variation is an international, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the theoretical study of linguistic variation. It seeks to investigate to what extent the study of linguistic variation can shed light on the broader issue of language-particular versus language-universal properties, on the interaction between what is fixed and necessary on the one hand and what is variable and contingent on the other. This enterprise involves properly defining and delineating the notion of linguistic variation, identifying possible loci of variation, investigating what the variable properties of natural language reveal about its underlying invariant core, and conversely, exploring the range and type of variation that arises from the interaction between several invariant principles.

Papers can be submitted for peer review and editorial consideration at After registering with Editorial Manager, select 'Special issue: The Locus of Linguistic Variation' from the drop-down menu under 'Section/Category'. Submissions should be under 10,000 words and should be submitted by December 5th, 2014. Formatting guidelines for submissions can be found at

For questions, contact any of the guest editors for this special issue: Meredith Tamminga (, Laurel MacKenzie (, or Constantine Lignos (