LINGUIST List 26.4980

Mon Nov 09 2015

Calls: Ling Theories, Socioling/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 09-Nov-2015
From: Benedikt Szmrecsanyi <>
Subject: Probabilistic Variation Across Dialects and Varieties
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Full Title: Probabilistic Variation Across Dialects and Varieties

Date: 04-Apr-2016 - 05-Apr-2016
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Contact Person: Jason Grafmiller
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Dec-2015

Meeting Description:

This two-day workshop to be held at the KU Leuven seeks to bring together quantitative
variation analysts who share an interest in exploring, evaluating, and comparing variation
patterns in a comparative perspective.

Call for Papers:

The meeting is organized in the context of a five-year project based at the KU Leuven
entitled “Exploring probabilistic grammar(s) in varieties of English around the world” (see Situated at the crossroads
of research on English as a World Language, usage-based theoretical linguistics,
variationist linguistics, and cognitive sociolinguistics, the project marries the spirit of the
Probabilistic Grammar framework (which posits that grammatical knowledge is experience-
based and partially probabilistic) to research along the lines of the English world-wide
paradigm (which is concerned with the dialectology and sociolinguistics of post-colonial
English-speaking communities around the world). Questions of interest include the
following: (1) What is the extent to which varieties of English share a probabilistic grammar
that predicts variation patterns across different varieties? (2) Which probabilistic constraints
are universal and stable, and which are culturally malleable? (3) Are some variation
phenomena/alternations (e.g., the English dative alternation, the genitive alternation,
particle placement ...) more stable across varieties/speech communities than others? (4)
How do we evaluate overall probabilistic similarity between varieties? (5) Are cross-varietal
differences in syntactic variation better explained in terms of rule-based or memory
(exemplar) based models/theories?

The workshop is intended as a rather informal, round table-style meeting to inspire cross-
fertilization among researchers with broadly similar research agendas. Invited speakers
include Joan Bresnan, Lars Hinrichs, Anette Rosenbach, and Sali Tagliamonte. We invite
additional contributions which broadly address one or more of the above questions, thus
showcasing approaches to the quantitative analysis of linguistic variation across dialects,
varieties, and speech communities (English-speaking or not).

Presentations will be 20 minutes plus time for discussion. 1-page abstracts (including
references) should be sent to The deadline for the
submission of abstracts is December 15.

Page Updated: 09-Nov-2015