LINGUIST List 28.2559

Fri Jun 09 2017

Calls: Gen Ling, Historical Ling, Syntax, Typology/South Africa

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <srobinsonlinguistlist.org>


Date: 08-Jun-2017
From: Dankmar Enke <Dankmar.Enkelmu.de>
Subject: Stability and Instability in Grammar
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Full Title: Stability and Instability in Grammar

Date: 02-Jul-2018 - 06-Jul-2018
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Contact Person: Dankmar Enke
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~roland/sig2018/

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Syntax; Typology

Call Deadline: 24-Jul-2017

Meeting Description:

Workshop Leaders: Dankmar Enke and Guido Seiler (LMU Munich) and Roland Mühlenbernd (University of Tübingen)

We are pleased to announce a Workshop on ''Stability and Instability in Grammar'', held at the 20th International Congress of Linguistics in Cape Town, South Africa. This Workshop is organized by Dankmar Enke, Guido Seiler (LMU Munich) and Roland Mühlenbernd (University of Tübingen).

Theme of the workshop:

What can cross-linguistic frequency of grammatical structures tell us about their diachronic (in)stability? The workshop starts from the null hypothesis that diachronically stable properties are those that appear as the typologically most frequent ones, and that cross-linguistic rarity correlates with diachronic instability.

By ‘stability’ we mean the resistance against forces of language dynamics and change. Historical linguistics can reveal how strongly a particular grammar has changed for a particular language. This kind of information from a large number of languages makes possible more general statements about the tendency of specific grammatical properties to stay stable for a long period of time or to change rather quickly (cf. Harris & Campbell 2000; Fleischer & Simon 2013). On the other hand, recent progresses in quantitative typology enable us to make substantive generalizations about the cross-linguistic frequency of language structures. Taken together, historical and typological data allow us to assess the explanatory power of the above mentioned null hypothesis.

To take word order as an example, 76% of all languages (WALS) show either SOV (41%) or SVO (35%) as their dominant word order, which would suggest that SOV and SVO are more stable and resistant against language change than the other four possible systems. However, there is a much stronger diachronic tendency for SOV to change towards SVO than vice-versa (Vennemann 1974; Newmeyer 2000). This suggests that SVO is the most stable system whereas the superior number of SOV systems might be due to other factors, but this does not reflect the stability of SOV (Gell-Mann & Ruhlen 2011). As the word order example shows, in order to make better predictions about the stability of grammars, a fruitful synthesis of typological and historical data is indispensable. Statistical evidence for recurrent patterns might be a first indicator for its stability aspects, but it needs to be controlled against common diachronic pathways in the languages of the world

The workshop aims at bringing together typologists, historical linguists and evolutionary linguists who are studying stability aspects of grammars, which might non-exclusively include: word order (cf. Sornicola, Poppe & Shisha-Halevy 2000), case marking (cf. Berg 2014), aspect and tense (cf. Herring 1993), consonant and vowel inventories (cf. Jäger 2008), etc. We invite for empirically well-grounded contributions that discuss the relationship between (in)stability and cross-linguistic frequency and its possible theoretical consequences, e.g. whether common pathways of change shape the typological landscape (Blevins 2004) or whether typological preferences constrain the direction of change.


The scientific committee includes:

Heather Burnett (Université de Paris 7 - Denis Diderot)
Ashwini Deo (The Ohio State University)
Regine Eckardt (University of Konstanz)
Jürg Fleischer (University of Marburg)
Michael Franke (University of Tübingen)
Elly van Gelderen (Arizona State University)
Olav Hackstein (LMU Munich)
Martin Haspelmath (University of Leipzig, MPI Jena)
Agnes Jäger (University of Cologne)
Gerhard Jäger (University of Tübingen)
Johanna Nichols (University of California, Berkeley)
Eva-Maria Remberger (University of Vienna)
Gerhard Schaden (Université de Lille)
Horst Simon (Free University Berlin)
Mary Stevens (LMU Munich)

Juliette Blevins (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

Call for Papers:

The workshop aims at bringing together typologists, historical linguists and evolutionary linguists who are studying stability aspects of grammars, which might non-exclusively include:

- word order (cf. Sornicola, Poppe & Shisha-Halevy 2000),
- case marking (cf. Berg 2014),
- aspect and tense (cf. Herring 1993),
- consonant and vowel inventories (cf. Jäger 2008), etc.

We invite for empirically well-grounded contributions that discuss the relationship between (in)stability and cross-linguistic frequency and its possible theoretical consequences, e.g. whether common pathways of change shape the typological landscape (Blevins 2004) or whether typological preferences constrain the direction of change. We believe this theme serves to highlight a growing interest to test linguistic theory against increasingly larger data sets (extensive fieldwork and documentation, corpus data, typological databases). We envision that this theme captures several areas of emerging interests such as the breakdown of a longstanding fundamental distinction between the cross-linguistic quantitatively motivated research and diachronic qualitatively motivated research.

Deadline: July 24th, 2017

Notification of acceptance: October 31st, 2017

Format: Please follow these guidelines when preparing your abstract - http://www.icl20capetown.com/index.php/2016-06-20-10-33-33/abstracts

Submission: Please follow the submission guidelines and upload your abstract on https://scatterlings.eventsair.com/PresentationPortal/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2FPresentationPortal%2Ficl2018%2Fabstract

Do not forget to select the workshop name (Workshop #37 ''Stability and Instability in Grammar'') during the submission process of the portal.

Workshop website: http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~roland/sig2018/

Scientific committee:

Heather Burnett (Université de Paris 7 - Denis Diderot)
Ashwini Deo (The Ohio State University)
Regine Eckardt (University of Konstanz)
Jürg Fleischer (University of Marburg)
Michael Franke (University of Tübingen)
Elly van Gelderen (Arizona State University)
Olav Hackstein (LMU Munich)
Martin Haspelmath (University of Leipzig, MPI Jena)
Agnes Jäger (University of Cologne)
Gerhard Jäger (University of Tübingen)
Johanna Nichols (University of California, Berkeley)
Eva-Maria Remberger (University of Vienna)
Gerhard Schaden (Université de Lille)
Horst Simon (Free University Berlin)
Mary Stevens (LMU Munich)

Juliette Blevins (The Graduate Center, CUNY)

Organising committee:

Dankmar Enke, Guido Seiler and Roland Mühlenbernd


Page Updated: 09-Jun-2017