LINGUIST List 27.907

Fri Feb 19 2016

Calls: General Ling, Historical Ling, Socioling, Text/Corpus Ling/Poland

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 18-Feb-2016
From: Melitta Gillmann <>
Subject: Doubtful cases: A fresh look
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Full Title: Doubtful cases: A fresh look

Date: 15-Sep-2016 - 17-Sep-2016
Location: Poznan, Poland
Contact Person: Melitta Gillmann
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Call Deadline: 30-Mar-2016

Meeting Description:

Languages allow expressions that differ only formally but are semantically equivalent (e.g. Germ wegen dem Unwetter or wegen des Unwetters ‘because of storm[]/’, Engl She dove/dived into the water, Pol Jedziemy do supersamu/do supersama ‘We are going to the’). The existing variants are often explained to fulfil complex indexical functions (Johnstone in press, Trudgill 2011, Davies/Langer 2006, Harnisch 2004 among others) and to be linked to different categories like conceptual orality/literacy (Koch/Oesterreicher 2007), diastratic, diaphasic or diatopic variables or to spoken or written medium. This session draws a different perspective and addresses the question how the speakers/writers deal with particular variants: facing these interchangeable forms, competent speakers may doubt which one to use in a particular situation. In accordance to Klein (2003) we call such variants doubtful cases.

Some doubtful cases have already been approached empirically, mostly from a language systemic perspective on the choice of variants (see Bubenhofer/Hansen-Morath/Konopka 2014 among others). However, for a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of doubtful cases, which includes the doubting speaker's perspective, a fresh look at the data as well as new methodological means are necessary, e.g. experimental studies, analysis of metalinguistic discourse, and corpus-driven research. Important questions are: Who doubts and when? How do we know that speakers/writers actually doubt? To what extent does the medium (written vs. spoken language) or the communication conditions give rise to doubts? How much impact does the salience (Auer 2014) of a particular doubtful case exert? Which role does the prestige of one formal variant play (Szczepaniak 2014)?

In this session we invite scholars to explore these different aspects of doubtful cases in different languages. We welcome talks on systemic and/or sociolinguistic variation, on the speaker's view and on the lay discourse. Contributions from corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, experimental linguistics, and psycholinguistics are invited, as well as contributions discussing the treatment of doubtful cases at school.

Call for Papers:

All abstracts of papers to be presented at PLM2016 must be submitted using the EasyChair system (for further information see

Please note that for our session the submission deadline for the individual talks has been extended to March 30, 2016.

Page Updated: 19-Feb-2016