LINGUIST List 29.3742

Fri Sep 28 2018

Calls: Historical Linguistics/Australia

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Date: 26-Sep-2018
From: Manuel Delicado Cantero <>
Subject: Multiple Causation in Language Change: Mechanisms under the Magnifying Glass
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Full Title: Multiple Causation in Language Change: Mechanisms under the Magnifying Glass

Date: 01-Jul-2019 - 05-Jul-2019
Location: Canberra, Australia
Contact Person: Manuel Delicado Cantero
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Call Deadline: 12-Oct-2018

Meeting Description:

(Workshop at the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics)

Multiple Causation in Language Change: Mechanisms under the Magnifying Glass

Manuel Delicado Cantero (Australian National University) & Patrícia Amaral (Indiana University)

This workshop aims to explore the interaction of different causes in the development of specific changes in a variety of languages. Causes here is intended to encompass the effects of different factors in change, not only the well-known differentiation between social vs language-internal factors (the traditional debate on external and internal factors, cf. Malkiel 1983; Thomason 2008, among others). In particular, we intend to invite discussion on the interaction of otherwise well-studied mechanisms of change such as reanalysis, analogy, and borrowing/contact (Harris and Campbell 1995; Wanner 2006; De Smet 2009, 2014; Fischer 2013), multiple source changes (Fischer 2013; De Smet et al. 2015) and multiple effects of different linguistic levels (semantics, syntax, phonology, etc.; Lightfoot 2002; Brinton and Traugott 2017) in the outcome of any one change.

This workshop builds on several publications which have explicitly debated the role of multiple causation in change. Interest in external vs internal causes for change have long been present in the historical literature, but the interaction between social factors and intra-linguistic motivations continues to be an open question, including modern instantiations of the old debate as in the interaction between E-language and I-language within historical generative/Chomskyan literature (Matthews 2003). Lightfoot (2002) is devoted to the role of morphological change as a motivation for syntactic change from a generative/Chomskyan perspective. Several mechanisms may interact or, in fact, may be considered to be epiphenomena (cf. Campbell’s 2001 and Joseph’s 2001 discussion of grammaticalisation, and De Smet’s 2009 criticism of reanalysis). More recently, De Smet et al. (2015) have remarked the adequacy of paying attention to multiple source constructions in change, especially in cases where one new construction may be traced back to (at least) two others. In this book, Joseph (2015: 207) remarks that “from a methodological standpoint, identifying multiple sources is often good historical linguistic practice”.

Building on this previous scholarship, our workshop aims to bring together scholars interested in the interaction between multiple levels, multiple mechanism, in short, multiple causation in language change in any one change. We welcome research on any natural language and from any theoretical framework.

A thorough examination of the nature of multiple causation, as understood in this workshop, is a most pertinent topic for a conference such as ICHL and, furthermore, aims to contribute to the ultimate question in historical linguistics and language change: how did change X come about? We also aim to encourage a cross-framework dialogue.

Call for Papers:

This workshop invites presentations providing current approaches either to previously explored data or to new data in any natural language, from any relevant theoretical framework –including integrative approaches and interdisciplinary research. We encourage presentations devoted to (but not exclusively) any of the following general research topics:

1. Internal and external factors in language change; e.g., interaction between social and language-internal factors, E-language and I-language.
2. The interaction between well-known mechanisms such as reanalysis, analogy and contact/borrowing; fine-grained studies of mechanisms of change with particular attention to the effects of other mechanisms; discussion on so-called epiphenomenal mechanisms.
3. Multiple levels in change, i.e., semantic change influencing syntactic reanalysis and analogy.


Brinton, L. J. and E. C. Traugott. 2017. “Non-syntactic Sources and Triggers of Syntactic Change”. In A. Ledgeway and I. Roberts (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Historical Syntax, pp. 556-577. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Campbell, L. 2001. “What's wrong with grammaticalization?” Language Sciences 23: 113-161.
De Smet, H. 2009. “Analysing reanalysis”. Lingua 119: 1728-1755.
De Smet, H. 2014. “Does innovation need reanalysis?” In E. Coussé and F. von Mengden (eds.), Usage-based Approaches to Language Change, pp. 23-48. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
De Smet, H. et al. (eds.) 2015. On Multiple Source Constructions in Language Change. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Fischer, O. 2013. “An inquiry into unidirectionality as a foundational element of grammaticalization. On the role played by analogy and the synchronic grammar system in processed of language change”. Studies in Language 37.3: 515-533.
Harris, A. C. and Campbell, L. 1995. Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Joseph, B. 2001. “Is there such a thing as ‘grammaticalization’?'” Language Sciences 23: 163-186.
Joseph, B. 2015. “Multiple sources and multiple causes multiply explored”. In H. De Smet et al. (eds.), On Multiple Source Constructions in Language Change, pp. 205-221. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Lightfoot, D. W. 2002. Syntactic Effects of Morphological Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Malkiel, Y. 1983. “Multiple versus simple causation in linguistic change”. In Y. Malkiel, From Particular to General Linguistics. Selected Essays 1965-1978, pp. 251-268. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Matthews, P. 2003. “On change in ‘E-language’”. In R. Hickey (ed.), Motives for Language Change, pp. 7-17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thomason, S. G. 2008. “Social and linguistic factors as predictors of contact-induced change”, Journal of Language Contact 2.1: 42-56.
Wanner, D. 2006. The Power of Analogy. An Essay on Historical Linguistics. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Abstract Submission:

Abstracts should be no more than one page with 12pt font, and can include a second page for references. Scholars may submit a maximum of two papers, whether sole authored or co-authored. Authors submitting an abstract should indicate that they would like to be considered for presentation at this workshop. Acceptance of abstracts will be announced by mid-November 2018.

Abstracts should be submitted via the conference web page: .

For more information:

Page Updated: 28-Sep-2018