LINGUIST List 30.4189

Wed Nov 06 2019

Calls: Gen Ling, Psycholing, Syntax, Text/Corpus Ling, Typology/Romania

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 31-Oct-2019
From: Savithry Namboodiripad <>
Subject: SLE 2020 Workshop: New Perspectives on Word Order Flexibility
E-mail this message to a friend

Full Title: SLE 2020 Workshop: New Perspectives on Word Order Flexibility

Date: 26-Aug-2020 - 29-Aug-2020
Location: University of Bucharest, Romania
Contact Person: Savithry Namboodiripad
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Typology

Call Deadline: 15-Nov-2019

Meeting Description:

As a wider set of empirical tools is applied to persistent questions in syntactic typology, distinctions which were previously treated as categorical have been revisited. Recent work using corpus-based entropy metrics (Levshina 2019) and acceptability judgment experiments (Namboodiripad 2017, 2019) has argued for a gradient approach to word/constituent order, moving beyond categorical definitions such as “free” or “rigid.” This approach aims to describe order data more precisely, avoiding data reduction and a bias towards bimodally distributed preferred word order patterns (cf. Wälchli 2009). It also enables us to model correlations between word/constituent order and other language-internal and language-external variables, and to understand functional pressures that are responsible for the emergence of probabilistic constraints.

In this workshop, we seek to bring together novel research on variation in word and constituent order, asking about the range of cross-linguistic variation, the sources of this variation, and the methods that might be most appropriate to capture it.

Call for Papers:

This is a call for abstracts for a workshop proposal for SLE 2020 in Bucharest, Romania. 26-29 August 2020. We seek 300 word abstracts which investigate variation in word/constituent order from a variety of perspectives.

The questions that we would like to address include, but are not limited to, the following:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using different types of data when describing word order flexibility?
What are the areas of convergence and divergence of different methods?
What is the appropriate level of lexical and syntactic granularity for measuring word order flexibility?
How can word order flexibility be explained by communicative and cognitive constraints?
What changes to theoretical approaches are necessary in order to capture flexibility?
What is the relationship between flexibility and processing/production pressures?
What might explain individual or group-level differences in word order flexibility?
Are there discernable patterns in how flexibility changes due to language contact?
How might a more granular approach to flexibility help explain historical change in word/constituent order?

If approved, the workshop will be part of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE) in Bucharest, August 26 - 29. We are soliciting abstracts of 300 words which consider variation in word order or constituent order, with a special interest in comparative or typological approaches and work which includes understudied languages or varieties.

We encourage contributions from students and junior scholars.

300-word abstracts (excluding references) should be emailed to,, or by November 15 in pdf format. The organizers will contact the authors of the chosen abstracts by November 19, which will then be submitted as part of the workshop proposal. If approved, the authors must submit revised 500-word abstracts according to the SLE guidelines before January 15, 2020.

Page Updated: 06-Nov-2019