LINGUIST List 26.1079

Wed Feb 25 2015

Calls: Historical Linguistics, Linguistic Theories, Phonology/UK

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 23-Feb-2015
From: Pavel Iosad <>
Subject: 2nd Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology
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Full Title: 2nd Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology

Date: 03-Dec-2015 - 04-Dec-2015
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Pavel Iosad
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Phonology

Call Deadline: 15-Jun-2015

Meeting Description:

The Second Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology
3-4 December 2015, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh

What do we need to consider in order to understand phonological change? The Second Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology will offer an opportunity to discuss fundamental questions in historical phonology as well as specific analyses of historical data.

Our plenary speaker, sponsored by the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics, is:

- Ranjan Sen (University of Sheffield)

The invited speaker will address foundational issues in the discipline over two one-hour slots, one on each day of the symposium, and there will be considerable time allocated to discussion.

Call for Papers:

We see historical phonology as the branch of linguistics which links phonology to the past in any way. Its key concerns are (i) how and why the phonology of languages changes in diachrony, and (ii) the reconstruction of past synchronic stages of languages' phonologies. These are inextricably linked: we need to understand what the past stages of languages were in order to understand which changes have occurred, and we need to understand which kinds of changes are possible and how they are implemented in order to reconstruct past synchronic stages.

We define phonology, broadly, as that part of language which deals with the patterning of the units used in speech, and we see historical phonology as an inherently inter(sub)disciplinary enterprise. In order to understand (i) and (ii), we need to combine insights from theoretical phonology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, philology, and, no doubt, other areas. We need to interact with the traditions of scholarship that have grown up around individual languages and language families and with disciplines like history, sociology and palaeography.

The kinds of questions that we ask include at least the following:

- What changes are possible in the phonology of a language?
- What types of units and domains do we need to refer to in order to capture phonological change?
- What is the precise patterning of particular changes in the history of particular languages?
- How do changes arise and spread through communities?
- What counts as evidence for changes or for the reconstruction of languages' phonology?
- Which kinds of factors can motivate or constrain change?
- Are there factors which lead to stability in language, and militate against change?
- To what extent is phonological change independent of changes that occur at other levels of the grammar, such as morphology, syntax or semantics?
- How can the results of historical phonology inform phonological theorising?
- What is the relationship between the study of completed phonological changes and of change in progress?
- What is the relationship between phonological change, language variation, and language acquisition?

We invite one-page abstracts addressing these, or any other questions relevant to the symposium topics, by 15 June 2015.

For submission instructions, see the full call at

Page Updated: 25-Feb-2015