LINGUIST List 32.1547

Tue May 04 2021

Calls: Applied Ling, Comp Ling, Disc Analys, Hist Ling, Text/Corpus Ling/Germany

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 04-May-2021
From: Julia Lukassek <>
Subject: Complexity and Register
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Full Title: Complexity and Register
Short Title: CAR21

Date: 19-Nov-2021 - 19-Nov-2021
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact Person: Julia Lukassek
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Call Deadline: 31-Aug-2021

Meeting Description:

The term “linguistic complexity” is often thrown around lightly, but what exactly is meant by it remains fuzzy and elusive. Its various flavours and facets are influenced by a diverse combination of linguistic and extralinguistic factors, for instance discourse status (Arnold et al. 2000), medium (Biber & Gray 2010), situational setting (Verhoeven & Lehmann 2018), and language development (Weiss & Meurers 2019), to name just a few. And despite the hundreds of measurements of phenomena that contribute to complexity (cf. Lu 2011; Weiss 2017), many open questions about the theoretical models, cognitive processes, and influencing factors behind complexity have yet to be explored.

This is where our workshop comes in. We are interested in contributions that aim at a better understanding of the relationship between complexity and register.

Being intangibly related to aspects of processing (cf. Gibson 1998, 2001), complexity pertains to all areas of language analysis, from phonological weight and morphological structure to the manifold levels of syntactic embedding and information packaging (see Weiss & Meurers 2019 for an aggregation of complexity features). Recent research has shown that these linguistic areas involve different types of complexity (e.g. for clause vs. phrase level, see Biber & Gray 2010, and for center vs. peripheral embedding, see Karlsson 2007 and Verhoeven & Lehmann 2018). Thus, we must first understand what type of complexity is involved and be able to operationalize it properly (Szmrecsányi 2004) before we can begin to investigate the underlying reasons for different levels of complexity.

Variation in situational and functional settings (register variation) has been shown to be one factor that affects the level of various types of linguistic complexity (cf. Halliday 1979; Biber & Gray 2010; Biber 2012; Maas 2006; 2010; Miller & Weinert 1998; for recursivity in particular Sakel & Stapert 2010; Kornai 2014), yet it is not always clear what the exact theoretical relationship is between register and the individual facets of complexity. How do the situation’s communicative needs and intentions affect our choice of one complexity measure over another? How do surface complexity and processing relate to one another, and what difference does the type of complexity make to this relationship?

We are delighted to announce Benedikt Szmrecsanyi with Alexandra Engel (KU Leuven) and Zarah Weiß (Universität Tübingen) as invited speakers.

Call for Papers:

Contributions to the workshop may cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- register variation
- syntactic, structural, and grammatical complexity
- morphological complexity
- cognitive and processing complexity
- recursion and embedding
- variationist theory

Format of the Abstracts:
Authors should submit anonymous 2-page abstracts (figures and references can be on a separate page) in a 12-point font (e. g. Times New Roman) to

References should be formatted according to the APA guidelines. Abstracts will be peer reviewed. Talks will be given 30 minute slots including discussion. The workshop language is English.

Program Committee:
Sophia Döring
Nico Lehmann
Julia Lukassek
Anke Lüdeling
Elizabeth Pankratz
Otso Vanhala

Important Dates:
Submission of abstracts: August 31, 2021
Notification of acceptance: September 30, 2021
Workshop date: November 19, 2021

Page Updated: 04-May-2021