LINGUIST List 30.4458

Sat Nov 23 2019

Calls: Applied Ling, Comp Ling, Discipline of Ling, Gen Ling, Ling Theories/Germany

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 18-Nov-2019
From: Alicia Katharina Börner <>
Subject: The Limits of Experimentation - Current Challenges in Experimental Linguistic Practice
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Full Title: The Limits of Experimentation - Current Challenges in Experimental Linguistic Practice
Short Title: LofE

Date: 22-May-2020 - 23-May-2020
Location: Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Contact Person: Tibor Kiss
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; General Linguistics; Linguistic Theories

Call Deadline: 08-Dec-2019

Meeting Description:

Linguistics has experienced an increasing focus on experimental evidence in recent times. This does not only concern external linguistic interfaces dealt with in psycho- or sociolinguistics. Proper linguistic sub-disciplines show a rapidly growing interest in experimental data as a base for theoretical linguistics, leading to new research strands such as experimental phonology, experimental syntax, experimental semantics or experimental pragmatics.
Despite an ongoing fundamental discussion on the general relevance of experimental data in theoretical linguistics, each linguistic sub-discipline has at commands a set of formal methods for data collection, which are frequently applied or newly developed. Here, linguists can refer to various sets of guidelines. Furthermore, we can orient ourselves by means of a large variety of study documentations. But as it turns out, many practical aspects remain unclear. Both methods on their own or together seem to not yet be exhaustive enough to answer all questions on proper procedure or to function as a base for a replication of individual studies.
As an example, take the challenges in the field of experimental syntax, which are not restricted to acceptability judgments, but are rather very general in nature. Until today, the need for judgment data in syntactic theorizing is controversially discussed. Proponents of experimental approaches call into question the empirical base of theories based on informal methods (Wasow & Arnold 2005; Featherston 2007; Gibson & Fedorenko 2010; Häussler & Juzek 2017). Other researches point to the practicability and various achievements of informal theorizing, thus defending introspective approaches (Phillips & Lasnik 2003; Phillips & Wagers 2007; Phillips 2009).
Proponents of experimental approaches can make use of a set of established formal methods (Likert Scales, Forced Choice, Magnitude Estimation) and newly introduced ones (Thermometer Task (Featherston 2008), Sentence Fragment Arrangement Task (e.g. Störzer 2017)). They can draw on concrete guidelines for experimental practice (Cowart 1997; Schütze 1996/22016; Schütze & Sprouse 2013) as well as on numerous study documentations. But various issues regarding conception or implementation remain unresolved or unaddressed in both sources, ranging from questions related to study design or sentence material to debates about an up-to-date procedure or about adequate method-specific statistical analyses. Moreover, guidelines are often too vague to ensure a uniform application.

2nd Call for Papers:

In light of the various open questions regarding experimental linguistic practice, the purpose of this conference is to bring together experimental researchers working in different strands and different linguistic sub-disciplines or related areas in order to gather and critically discuss open issues. Thus, each individual contribution presents certain intricate practical aspects corresponding pragmatic solutions, or methodological reflections and impulses on linguistic experimentation. With this, we want to contribute to a critical evaluation of current standards as well as to the development of new standards and guidelines in the field.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of questions that could be addressed at this conference:

General Relevance
- Is experimental data indeed a necessary precondition for empirically adequate theoretical analyses?
Formal methods
- What do we consider the most promising formal methods for a given experimental sub-discipline and what are fruitful combinations of those methods?
- Is there a need for developing novel methods?
Factorial design
- How complex can we make our factorial designs in investigations of complex phenomena, while still guaranteeing a working analysis?
Sentence material
- What are the most reliable approaches to item construction?
- Can we establish concrete standards for control items?
- Are there new in-depth studies on the nature and functions of filler items in different formal methods?
- What are the limits and benefits of instructions?
- How complex can we phrase instructions, while still ensuring a constant compliance throughout the experiment session?
- What are the standards concerning a web-based collection of data?
- Are there advances in the controllability of online studies?
- What is the ideal way of analyzing data gathered with different formal methods?
- What are the current standards in the pre-processing of data in different formal methods?
- Power analysis: can we have too many participants?

Submission Details:

We invite submissions on questions of experimental practice, independent of the linguistic sub-discipline. Abstracts should be geared to 30+15 minute talks and should not exceed 1500 words including data, graphics and references. Submission is being managed with EasyChair at Abstracts should be anonymously submitted in doc(x)- or pdf-format, until December 8, 2019.

submission link:
deadline for submission: December 8, 2019
notification of acceptance: January 10, 2020

Page Updated: 23-Nov-2019