LINGUIST List 31.2936

Mon Sep 28 2020

Calls: Hist Ling, Ling Theories/Greece

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 28-Sep-2020
From: Igor Yanovich <>
Subject: Towards a holistic understanding of language contact in the past
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Full Title: Towards a holistic understanding of language contact in the past

Date: 31-Aug-2021 - 03-Sep-2021
Location: Athens, Greece
Contact Person: Igor Yanovich
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories

Call Deadline: 10-Nov-2020

Meeting Description:

The classical 20th-century theoretical approaches to language tend to view grammar through a basically monolingual perspective. This general tendency is perhaps due to the Saussurean view on languages as abstract systems, but also to the dominant monolingualism ideologies of late-modern nation-states (in the context of historical linguistics, see Laakso 2014). The tendency to view grammar in isolation from multilingual settings is so pervasive that even modern approaches do not often overcome the monolingual paradigm. Undoubtedly, the biggest culprit in perpetuating such a view has been the generative quest of internal grammar and the misconceptions of what this is and how to capture it.

At the same time, the effects of language contact very clearly manifest themselves, as discussed in the literature on language contact (see Matras 2009), contact-induced and “shared” grammaticalization (see Heine & Kuteva 2005, Robbeets & Cuyckens 2013), sometimes resulting in areal patterns particularly relevant for linguistic typology (see e.g. Koptevskaja-Tamm 2006).

Given that grammatical transfer is very real—in fact, rather pervasive—many authors and workshops have tried to address the impasse in dealing with language contact. As practitioners working in the field of historical and contact linguistics, we feel that there continues to be an important gap between the fact of commonly happening grammatical transfer in language contact and our theorizing about such grammars. We believe that this gap needs to be narrowed and eventually closed for the sake of both theories of grammar and theories of language contact. In fact, we would like to take this further and ask the question: Do we really need a separate theory of language contact? The rather attractive alternative would be to reduce the effects of language contact to theories of language acquisition, sociolinguistics, external factors as well as more generalised cognitive mechanisms such as copy and analogy which once properly interwoven they can offer holistic explanations (see Sitaridou 2014, 2018, 2019).

The aim of this workshop is to contribute to this and other related questions. In the full call for papers (download here:, we further outline several themes that we find important for making such progress.

We are particularly keen on receiving abstracts that interweave findings and approaches from more than one sub-field thus aiming for holistic treatments.

Workshop Organisers:
Nikolaos Lavidas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens); Ioanna Sitaridou (University of Cambridge, Queens’ College); Igor Yanovich (Universität Tübingen)

Call for Papers:

Full call for papers:

Please send us a 300-word abstract of your paper to no later than November 10, 2020. Please see Additional Information for a further description of possible topics to address.

After the short abstracts are assembled into a panel proposal, it will be accepted or rejected by the SLE conference, in accordance with the usual SLE procedure.

Important dates
November 10, 2020: deadline for submission of short (300-words) abstracts
December 15, 2020: notification of acceptance/ rejection of SLE workshop proposals
January 15, 2021: deadline for submission of 500-words abstracts
March 31, 2021: notification of acceptance/rejection of individual abstracts.

Page Updated: 28-Sep-2020