We are pleased to welcome Professor Ioanna Sitaridou from the University of Cambridge (University of Cambridge and Queens’ College) for a series of four seminars on the theme "Syntactic reconstruction, historical relatedness and language contact ".
The first seminar will be held on September 14, 2022. The dates and location of the other seminars will be announced soon.
The research seminar is designed to cater for undergraduates as well as graduates while it would also be a platform to exchange ideas with colleagues who study comparative, historical and contact linguistics, typology, field methods, acquisition, sociolinguistics and theoretical syntax. In particular, the research seminar proposed here will interface superbly well with the Strand 3: Typology and dynamics of linguistic systems and, in particular, both projects in RT, namely Linguistique historique, phyla et typologie; as well as research projects LC1 Analyse multifactorielle des changements de langage, LC3 Langues, Dialectes et Isoglosses de l’Asie de l’Ouest, GD1 Typologie et annotation du corpus de la structure de l’information et des relations grammaticales, and GD2 La syntaxe de la phrase complexe dans les langues créoles.
Rationale: There is strong consensus that linguistic theory (of different persuasions) has transformed our understanding of language. The obvious question would then be whether we also need a theory of language change. The question is not new and, at least within the generative paradigm, the answer has been negative. However, historical linguistics couched within the generative tradition has often, and rightly so, been criticised as a- historical especially considering contact-induced change. What sort of framework can we envisage towards more holistic explanations of syntactic change? In this seminar we explore cue-based syntactic reconstruction as proposed by Sitaridou (2014, 2016) and test this approach in the traditional playfield of contact linguistics, namely Anatolia. In doing so, we discuss issues pertaining to field methods, quantitative linguistics, syntax- discourse interface whilst our approach can also offer new insights to the emergence of creoles too (in line with recent work by Aboh & deGraff 2017).
Format: To appeal to such a broad demographic we shall be introducing all basic concepts from scratch and gradually build up the complexity of the issues discussed with specialised bibliographies and contact time for the more advanced students, as needed. All teaching will be research-led, based on Prof Sitaridou’s research record (https://www.mmll.cam.ac.uk/is269), but will, of course, be further enhanced by contemporary research on these topics. The language of instruction will be French and/or English.
Four seminars, each seminar is 2h long
Seminar 1: Do we need a theory of language change?
Or just reanalysis?
Can we account for contact-induced change just on the basis of reanalysis?
(Several) Theories on how to model contact-induced change
Seminar 2: Pitfalls and problems in the Anatolian context
Anatolia: What contact qualifies as Sprachbund?
Illustrating the pitfall/problems of existing approaches in the context of Anatolia
Problem one: Trying to see contact-induced change with the binoculars (macro- parameters)
Problem two: Missing out on diagnosing the pre-existing tendency (‘continuity’)
Back-mutation vs inheritance
Seminar 3: Romeyka word order change within the Anatolian context
Word order in Romeyka
Back-mutation scenario for Romeyka word order
Inheritance scenario for Romeyka word order
Seminar 4: Cue-based reconstruction in a socio-linguistically informed manner
Micro-cues for better syntactic resolution
Know your speakers! (or your texts or both)
Sociolinguistics providing more realistic input for acquisitional scenarios which could be used for the purpose of syntactic reconstruction