LINGUIST List 24.1158

Fri Mar 08 2013

Calls: Morphology, Typology, Linguistic Theories/UK

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <>

Date: 08-Mar-2013
From: Oliver Bond <>
Subject: Workshop on Comparative Morphology and Morphological Theory
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Full Title: Workshop on Comparative Morphology and Morphological Theory
Date: 31-Aug-2013 - 31-Aug-2013 Location: London, United Kingdom Contact Person: Oliver Bond
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Typology

Call Deadline: 01-May-2013

Meeting Description:

Workshop on Comparative Morphology and Morphological Theory
Linguistics Association of Great Britain Annual Meeting 2013
School of Oriental and African Studies, London
31 August 2013
Organised by Matthew Baerman and Daniel Harbour

Plenary Speaker:

Jonathan Bobaljik (UConn) - ‘Morphological universals and the hidden structure of words’

The Workshop on Comparative Morphology and Morphological Theory will be held in conjunction with Jonathan Bobaljik’s Linguistics Association Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain 2013.

Workshop website:

Call for Papers:

Download the call:

The organising committee invites submissions addressing issues pertinent to the study of morphological theory in the light of comparative morphology. Papers will be selected on their (perceived) merits, and not according to their subject matter or theoretical framework. All abstracts will be blind-peer-reviewed by an international committee of reviewers. Both members and non-members are invited to offer papers for the meeting.

The deadline for submissions to the Workshop is 1 May 2013. Notification of acceptance will be made by the end of May 2013.


Morphology is about bits: words as bits of sentences, morphemes as bits of words, features as bits of morphemes. So, morphologists ought to be able to answer two basic questions. When two bits are the same (is the -th of tenth the same as the -th of health)? And how bitty should our bits be (is health really heal-th; how about wealth as weal-th)? Unlike syntax-semantics and phonology-phonetics, where data sets are open-ended, morphologists’ data for a given language are often exhausted by a few paradigms or a small list of closed class items. This makes it difficult to test predictions or to disentangle explicanda from accidents and principles from coincidences. Generality in morphology must, in consequence, come from comparison, making morphological theory a quintessentially comparative enterprise.

Comparative morphology has received special impetus from the recent upwelling of high quality typological studies on diverse grammatical themes. As morphological theory responds to these, and instigates others, it raises questions that are foundational, methodological, and evidential.

We must ask whether all conceptions of morphological theory equally amenable to comparative research. For instance, are word forms better understood as concatenations of morphemes or as cells in paradigms? When are paradigms too coarse, or morphemes too fine, for crosslinguistic comparison?

We must articulate the proper relationship between theory and typology, and between the general and the specific. For instance, what is the right balance between the abstraction needed for comparison and attention to language-particular idiosyncrasies? Are idiosyncrasies an object of enquiry in their own right, or are they obstacles to be cleared away in the search for generalizations?

And we must recognize that there may be limits to the kinds of morphology compatible with comparative analysis. For instance, if one looks at, say, person-number, then case, then conjugation classes, one observes a cline from semantic transparentness to lexicalarbitrariness: does this limit the applicability of the comparative approach? Do diachrony and dialectology, special forms of comparative data, offer special insights, or pitfalls, to the comparative enterprise?

We invite submissions addressing these issues or any others pertinent to the study of morphological theory in the light of comparative morphology.

How to Submit an Abstract:

The deadline for abstracts for the Workshop on Comparative Morphology and Morphological Theory is 1 May 2013. The deadline for abstract submission for the General Session is 15 April 2013.

Details of the venue, how to submit an abstract, and how to apply for a conference bursary are available from the conference website:

Download the first circular:

Page Updated: 08-Mar-2013