This workshop will deal with the reshaping of grammatical categories (gender, number, case, tense/aspect, mood, voice) and the resulting repercussions on the syntax of Ancient and Medieval Indo-European languages. We welcome both theoretical and data-oriented papers dealing with the following (and related) topics: the strategies of definiteness; the development of gender and animacy marking; the differentiation of aspectual systems (both grammatical and lexical); the loss of inflectional morphology of case and tense/aspect and its repercussions on the development of configurational nominal and verbal syntax; syntax of case (oblique subjects, the rise and loss of ergative syntax, possessive construction); the rise and remaking of voice systems.
Vit Bubenik, Memorial University of Newfoundland
John Hewson, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Sarah Rose, Memorial University of Newfoundland
How can sophisticated study of theoretical phonology inform our understanding of diachronic phonology, and vice versa? The research program developed by John Ohala and expounded most recently in Blevins 2004 and Hale 2007 maintains that many of the patterns in synchronic linguistic systems result from historical changes, not from innate principles and constraints that guide and/or constitute the grammar. This perspective on phonology, unlike competing theories that capture typological generalizations in terms of universal synchronic principles, correctly predicts the existence of “crazy rules” (Bach and Harms 1972), while simultaneously constraining the range of possible human grammars in just the ways suggested by recent learning studies (Pycha et al. 2003, Seidl and Buckley 2005). OT, in turn, makes a number of contrasting predictions concerning issues such as typology of historical changes and variation, the role played by markedness in synchronic and diachronic phonology, and the acquisition and historical development of opacity. By bringing together leading practitioners of the theory-history interface we hope to bring these predictive differences to a head, confront them with relevant diachronic data, and move towards a new and improved synthesis of synchronic and diachronic phonology.
Bert Vaux, University of Cambridge
When William Labov in the mid 1960ies founded empirical variationist sociolinguistics, his study of the New York sociolects became the matrix for a number of research projects in the following years (conveniently summarized in the appendix in the new edition of the 1966 classic). The classic design studies variation and change as intimately related processes and seeks to explain change by looking at the correlational patterns of speaker variables (age, sex/gender, social class, ethnicity, etc.) and linguistic variables. Change was so to speak inferred from the age stratified samples of informants by positing the apparent time hypothesis: Change would be the result of regular correspondences between age groups and linguistic variables. Obviously, this hypothesis can be tested in two ways: By re-recording the same informants years later or by recording some other group which closely corresponds to the original group of informants. Since the first studies are now more than forty years of age this seems to be the time to test the hypothesis more thoroughly. Both methods have been used, spearheaded by Canadian researchers, in particular the Montreal group including Gillian Sankoff, Shana Poplack and Hélène Blondeau. The organizers thought it timely and appropriate that we who work with language change in real time meet and take stock to see both what such studies could contribute to contemporary sociolinguistics and what they bring to the study of change in progress and hence to the field of historical linguistics at large.
Frans Gregersen, University of Copenhagen
Anita Berit Hansen, University of Copenhagen
Hélène Blondeau, University of Florida
The computerized corpora of ancient languages have multiplied in recent decades. We now find much diversity in this field. Certain corpora are voluminous, homogenous, standardized, while others span across lengthy periods, cumulate dialects, mix styles, etc. Right now, freely accessible tools resulting from research in computational linguistics are placed at the disposal of specialists in order to allow for various treatments of the corpora. We can indeed annotate, classify, question the corpora, and display the results with a variety of levels using various theoretical and methodological approaches. The goal of this workshop is to cumulate information regarding two objects: corpora and tools in a spirit of exchange and expertise.
Fernande Dupuis, Université du Québec à Montréal
Even though Germanic is a bona fide Indo-European language, several important properties of Germanic have no generally accepted explanation, among them the following:
the consonant shifts
the accent shift
the systematization and functionalization of verbal ablaut
the loss of reduplication in the verbal system
reductions in the categorical system, e.g. loss of the aorist
the development of the weak adjective declension
the development of the weak preterite
the development of the split word order
the high percentage of unetymologized vocabulary.
Some of these are likely to have arisen by ordinary language-internal development, e.g. by the grammaticalization of a periphrastic construction; others are believed by some linguists to be the result of prehistoric language contacts, e.g. the extraordinary number of Germanic words lacking Indo-European cognates and the functionalization of ablaut in the stem formation of the strong verbs. Thus, the way Germanic lost many of its Proto-Indo-European features and developed into a language of a different type is under dispute and to a large extent unknown. The papers presented in this workshop contribute to a better understanding of these problems and, ideally, to the construction of a theory of the origin of Germanic within which these and other problems can be solved.
Kurt Braunmüller, Un. of Hamburg
Theo Vennemann, Un. of Muenchen
Towards realistic models of contact-induced change: mapping psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors
Traditionally, language contact is considered to be a possible trigger of diachronic change whereby two or more languages/dialects in a contact situation influence each other (cf. Thomason 2001). Nevertheless, the precise mechanics of this influence remain to be worked out.
From a psycholinguistic perspective, it is not clear at all how language contact may trigger change. As a matter of fact, this ought to be impossible, at least a priori, since a sociolinguistic view considers ‘language’ as a social product and not as the ‘mental object’ of the individual (cf. Lightfoot 1999). In order to bridge the gap between the fact that language contact can indeed trigger language change and the ‘internalist’ restrictions, namely that the locus of change is the individual, Kroch & Taylor (1997) proposed the concept of ‘competing grammars’. This notion, however, is claimed to be extremely fuzzy from an acquisitionist perspective because of the mass of evidence pointing towards lack of significant interference in bilinguals (cf. Meisel 2001a, 2001b; Müller 2003).
Moreover, the notion of competition between grammars can be difficult to pin down sociolinguistically. From a sociolinguistic perspective, contact typically involves two or more varieties/languages which are hardly ever interchangeable on all levels (cf., e.g., Ferguson 1959). Differences in degree of standardisation, literacy of speakers, and prestige are only some of the factors affecting preference for one variety over another in situations such as colonisation, immigration, and diglossia. This creates further restrictions, this time of an ‘external’ nature. Moreover, such restrictions cannot be relegated to secondary status, merely filtering the outcome of competition at the structural level. Normative or otherwise broadly social considerations may pre-empt the possibility for competition itself to arise, if choices already made by society exclude some potential realisations as ‘ungrammatical’, or if contact between the two varieties is limited to only some linguistic environments and the concomitant structures found therein. In this context, the sense in which the corresponding grammars may be said to be in competition remains an open question.
The present workshop seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
(a) What constraints do the psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic findings jointly place on a realistic model of contact-induced change?
(b) Can change induced by language contact be modelled as a change in grammars, and—if yes—in what way?
(c) How do social factors enter into this process of change, and how can we model their influence in a consistent way?
(d) What type of empirical evidence is available to prove or disprove the causal relation between language contact and language change, given the limitations of diachronic studies, e.g. the absence of native speakers who may offer grammaticality judgements?
Ioanna Sitaridou, University of Cambridge
Marina Terkourafi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This workshop will be concerned with all aspects (descriptive, theoretical and/or methodological) of meaning change in lexical items, including ˆ but not limited to the development of pragmatic markers of various kinds (e.g. discourse markers, focus particles, modal particles, scalar items, interpersonal markers, approximatives, address terms,?).
Discussion of the explanatory value of the competing notions of grammaticalization, pragmaticalization, and lexicalization will at the center of interest, as will the question of the causes and mechanisms of semantic/pragmatic change.
The organizers plan to publish selected papers from the workshop (a priori in Elsevier Sciences Studies in Pragmatics series).
Thème de l’atelier: Sémantique et pragmatique diachroniques.
Description: Cet atelier accueillera des communications portant sur tous les aspects (descriptifs, théoriques et/ou méthodologiques) des changements sémantiques et pragmatiques que peuvent subir les unités lexicales, y compris le développement des marqueurs pragmatiques de tous types (par ex. marqueurs discursifs, particules focalisantes, particules modales, marqueurs de scalarité, marqueursinterpersonnels, approximateurs, termes d’adresse,?) Au centre de l’intérêt sera le débat sur la valeur explicative des notions concurrentes de grammaticalisation, pragmaticalisation et lexicalisation, ainsi que la question des causes et des mécanismes du changement sémantique et pragmatique. Les responsables de l’atelier visent la publication ultérieure d‚un certain nombre de communications choisies (a priori dans la série Studies in Pragmatics éditée par Elsevier Science).
Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen, University of Copenhagen/University of Manchester
Jacqueline Visconti, University of Genoa
We propose to hold a workshop on Spanish Historical Grammar and Spanish Dialectology with the participation of well-known researchers both from Spain and from North America, as well as newer scholars. Specialists from Spain, Denmark, Mexico, United States and Canada will examine reasons behind language change and the relationships between synchronic and diachronic variability in Spanish. Concretely, presentations will discuss variation in medieval verb systems, pronouns, proper nouns, adverbs, prepositions and theoretical issues relating to historical pragmatics, among others. In addition, we will have presentations which show current progress being made by some of the major research projects in our field.
David Heap, University of Western Ontario
Enrique Pato Maldonado, Université de Montréal
Dans l’atelier « Constructions grammaticales et ordre des mots : évolution en français » la question de l’ordre des mots sera abordée de différents points de vue. D’une part on l’envisagera –prioritairement- au niveau des constructions elles-mêmes : c’est le cas pour l’étude portant sur l’évolution de l’ordre des constituants dans la comparaison adjectivale d’égalité en français et pour celle traitant de la position du participe passé. Il sera d’autre part question de l’incidence de l’ordre des mots de l’énoncé sur certaines constructions : on s’interrogera ainsi sur les corrélations qui peuvent exister entre un ordre des mots régi selon un principe informationnel ou au contraire syntaxique et les modalités de reprise nominale, ou l’émergence de distinctions du type déterminants /pronoms. On envisagera aussi les effets de l’ordre des mots sur certains types de compléments circonstanciels construits en ancien français sans préposition, et sur l’évolution respective des constructions détachées et de certains marqueurs de topicalisation. La période couverte par les différentes études s’étend de la période de l’ancien français à celle du français moderne.
Sophie Prévost, LATTICE/CNRS École Normale Supérieure
The aim of the workshop on Creole Genesis is to present the audience with the importance of substrate features in creole languages on the basis of a representative sample of case studies. These include Kriol (Australia), Tok Pisin (NewGuinea), Solomon Islands Pijin, Hawai’ian Creole, Singapore English, Chinese English, Seychelles Creole, Surinamese Creoles, St.Lucian, Haitian Creole and Palenquero (Columbia). These language varieties have either English, French or Spanish as their lexifier/superstrate languages. Their substrate languages are either Australian Aboriginal, Austronesian, Chinese, Japanese/Portuguese and African languages. The workshop is a one day event. The first part will consist in about ten to twelve presentations followed by a question period. Two discussants will then present their remarks on the papers and on the general topic of the workshop. This will be followed by a roundtable, that will include the presenters and the discussants, on the processes involved in creole genesis.
Claire Lefebve, Université du Québec à Montréal
This proposal grows on one hand from a surge of important recent research in a variety of quantitative approaches to historical linguistics, especially comparative linguistics. On the other hand, it reflects a hope that traditional historical linguists will benefit from a forum on recent trends, and ICHL is surely the place to accomplish that goal. To that end we seek to bring together leading specialists doing quantitative work of this type. Key topics will include the question of tree and network representations in charting linguistic divergence, subgrouping, and methods of testing possible distant relationships.
Joseph Salmons, University of Wisconsin
Sheila Embleton, York University
James M. Unger, Ohio State University
John Whitman, Cornell University
This session on historical sociolinguistics focuses on language use from a group that is traditionally underrepresented (or ignored) in mainstream studies and conferences on language history: those writers at the very bottom of the social ladder. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing interest among language historians of the (late) 18th and 19th century in the study of documents from the lower social classes, paupers and working class emigrants. It is striking that these unschooled writers present us with a picture of language use that defeats all traditional accounts of standard languages at the time. Across language borders, it appears that this group had a relationship to language norms that was different from the small upper class layer whose language use has traditionally been the main basis for language histories. This session brings together original contributions on lower class writing from different languages (including Canadian French, Dutch, Finnish, German) and will try to convey a view on 18th and 19th century language history 'from below' (socially speaking). Recurring themes will therefore include the study of literacy, schooling practices and the evolving role of language norms for the creation of a specific social identity.
France Martineau, Université d’Ottawa
Wim Vandenbussche, Vrije Universiteit Brussel