LINGUIST List 27.2085

Fri May 06 2016

Calls: Greek, Historical Ling/Netherlands

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 05-May-2016
From: Lucien van Beek <>
Subject: Language Change in Epic Greek and Other Oral Traditions
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Full Title: Language Change in Epic Greek and Other Oral Traditions

Date: 27-Oct-2016 - 29-Oct-2016
Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Contact Person: Lucien van Beek
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Greek, Ancient

Call Deadline: 15-Jun-2016

Meeting Description:

The language of Homer (epic Greek) contains linguistic forms from different periods and dialects, as well as numerous artificial forms. Epic Greek is therefore commonly described as an artificial language, a Kunstsprache. This conference is dedicated to language change in the Greek epic tradition and in other oral traditions. The leading question is: to what extent can the language of oral traditions develop autonomously?

We welcome contributions on topics relating to the studHistorical Lingy of language change in epic Greek and in similar oral traditions. Papers on the genesis or history of the Homeric (Avestan, Vedic etc.) texts are also welcome, provided that they shed light on issues of language change.

Call for Papers:

Throughout the history of Homeric linguistics, much attention has already been paid to the question of dialectal influences on epic Greek, and to issues of artificial word formation. Leiden University Centre for Linguistics currently hosts the research project “Unraveling Homer’s Language”, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and conducted by Lucien van Beek. The main question studied in this project is: to what extent did epic Greek develop autonomously and according to clear principles? In particular, the project investigates whether there is evidence for independent phonological changes within the epic tradition.

This conference, part of the above-mentioned project, is dedicated to the following questions:
- In which ways did epic Greek change under external influence (introduction of linguistic features from literary dialects and vernaculars)?
- Which principles of internal linguistic change played a role in the development of epic Greek (artificial word formation, but also the possibility of epic-internal phonetic and phonological developments)?
- What about similar oral traditions, such as Avestan or Vedic? To what extent do such oral traditions develop autonomously? Which principles governed the relation between these poetic languages and the everyday language of the poets?

Key note speakers will be:
- Alain Blanc (Rouen)
- Albio Cassio (Roma)
- Jeremy Rau (Harvard)
- Rudolf Wachter (Lausanne)
- Andreas Willi (Oxford)

Those interested in submitting an abstract may think of topics like (the list is by no means exhaustive):

- Meter and its influence on language;
- Prosodic irregularities and their (historical or synchronic) explanation;
- Differences in use and function between isometric alternatives;
- Artificial features in domains like Word Formation, Lexicon (functional synonymy), Syntax, and Phonology;

Or, for epic Greek in particular:

- Non-Ionic epic lexicon and morphology (Aeolisms, Mycenaean forms, Attic redaction, etc.);
- Models for explaining Aeolisms in Homer (Aeolic phase, diffusion, or otherwise);
- Structural differences (e.g. lexical or morphological) between Homeric and Classical (Ionic-Attic) Greek;
- Linguistic comparison between Homeric Greek and other pre-classical sources (e.g. para-epic hexametrical inscriptions, lyric poetry with epic thematics);
- Possible linguistic differences between our oldest textual sources (paradosis, papyri, testimonia) and early oral versions of the poems.

- Talks will be 20 minutes plus 10 for discussion.
- Titles and abstracts are to be submitted no later than Wednesday 15 June, 2016 to The abstract should indicate the main line of argumentation and should not exceed one page A4.
- Notification of acceptance will be given by Friday 8 July, 2016.
- It is our intention to publish conference proceedings in a peer-reviewed series.
- A modest conference fee of 20 euros will be charged; this will cover a conference bag, coffee/tea, and lunches. Participation in the conference dinner will cost an additional 35 euros.
- If you have any questions concerning the conference, registration, or travelling to Leiden, please contact
- For further information, see the conference website:

The organizers,
Lucien van Beek, Alwin Kloekhorst, Sasha Lubotsky, Tijmen Pronk

Page Updated: 06-May-2016