LINGUIST List 31.2641

Tue Aug 25 2020

Calls: Gen Ling, Hist Ling, Ling Theories, Typology/Switzerland and Online

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 24-Aug-2020
From: Chris Ebert <>
Subject: Tracing contact in closely related languages
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Full Title: Tracing contact in closely related languages

Date: 19-Nov-2020 - 20-Nov-2020
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Contact Person: Chris Ebert
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

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

Call Deadline: 30-Sep-2020

Meeting Description:

The topic of the workshop ''Tracing contact in closely related languages'' is situated at the intersection of areal and historical linguistics: What effect does shared ancestry have on language contact?

The workshop will take place from November 19 to 20 at the University of Zurich in a mixed online/offline format if the situation allows. Online participation is welcomed and encouraged.

Call for Papers:

Linguistic areas often consist of languages that can be traced back to a common ancestor. While for some shared features it might be easy to establish common inheritance as a source (if they can be found in related languages outside the contact zone for example), in other cases it might be hard to distinguish between borrowing and inheritance (Mithun 2013). Moreover, their relatedness may facilitate the transfer of lexical and morphological material as well as that of more abstract patterns, creating within family similarities the origin of which is not inheritance.

The view that relatedness facilitates the transfer of linguistic material and patterns has long been supported by linguists (e.g. Meillet 1921: 87, Moravscik 1975, Weinreich 1979). While this view has received wide acceptance at least as a general tendency, the implied causal nature of this link has recently been questioned: the more closely related two languages are when they come into contact, the less time they have had to diverge, develop new patterns and coin new vocabulary. Thus, the reason why material and structure are more easily transferred between closely related languages might just be their typological similarity rather than their relatedness (Bowern 2013: 417).

While there have been numerous attempts at disentangling contact induced change from common inheritance and typological drift, identifying a clear origin for a certain feature/construction seems unfeasible in many cases.

With this workshop, we aim to bring together researchers working on these issues to discuss methodological issues in studying contact in closely related languages as well as case studies demonstrating outcomes of specific contact situations. We encourage submissions dealing with languages from all language families as well as theoretical discussions.

Please send abstracts by September 30 to:,,

Page Updated: 25-Aug-2020