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Plenary talks

Modeling morphological knowledge: What counts as evidence?

Geert Booij, Leiden University, Wednesday, 24.02.2021, 09:30 - 10:30

For an adequate model of morphological knowledge it does not suffice to design a set of rules that together define the notion ‘possible word’ of a language. Morphological knowledge is based on the knowledge of the existing simplex and complex words of a language. Generalizations about this set can be made by means of schemas of various degrees of abstraction. These schemas can also be used for the coining of new words. The pervasive role of paradigmatic relations between words requires sister schemas that express systematic relationships between words that correspond on the semantic and/or the formal level.

A proper modeling of this type of knowledge requires that evidence from related domains is taken into account, in particular from language acquisition, language processing, and language change. This implies a rich lexicon with redundant information, and no separation between lexicon and grammar. The model of Construction Morphology and its sister model Relational Morphology will be argued to allow for graceful integration of the available evidence concerning lexical knowledge in various subdomains of linguistics.

Autosegmental-metrical phonology – Not only pitch accents and edge tones

Martine Grice, Universität zu Köln, Freitag, 26.02.2020, 10:00 - 11:00

Autosegmental-metrical phonology has shown itself to be a highly successful framework for the description, analysis and comparison of the intonation of many of the world’s languages. A contributing factor to the success of this framework is the fact that there is widespread use of prepackaged units within the model – what Arvaniti calls “complex primitives”. The intonation systems of languages are described as having edge tones and, in some cases, also (post-lexical) pitch accents. These are defined in terms of their association properties and their cueing function within the prosodic system. Edge tones associate with an edge (or a TBU at the edge) and are a cue to the juncture between prosodic constituents. Pitch accents associate with a head (usually a stressed syllable) and are a cue to prominence. I shall argue that we need to unpack these definitions, providing evidence from languages in which association properties and cueing functions do not line up in this way.

Universals of phonological segment borrowing? Questions, evidence, methods, findings

Eitan Grossman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mittwoch, 24.02.2021, 11:30 - 12:30

[Abstract to be supplied]

Adding the prosodic dimension to subordination and its emergence

Marianne Mithun, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Thursday, 25.02.2021, 19:30 - 20:30

Various criteria have been proposed for defining subordination cross-linguistically, ranging from morphological and syntactic form to semantic properties and discourse functions. Languages vary not only in the number of subordinate constructions they distinguish formally, but also the relationships between particular constructions and the functions they serve. We can now add another formal consideration: prosody. This added dimension allows us to enrich not only our categorizations of subordinate constructions, but also our understanding of how they might emerge over time, in particular how prosody might interact with other known mechanisms and processes that shape grammar. These issues are illustrated here with material from a set of genealogically, areally, and typologically diverse languages which differ substantially from each other in their formal marking of complement, relative, and adverbial constructions. Evidence is drawn from corpora of unscripted, connected speech, including parallel narratives.

The exception proves the rule?: Sociolinguistic theory in a changing world

Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary University London, Freitag, 26.02.2020, 9:00 - 10:00

Core variationist sociolinguistic theory was developed half a century ago. For both practical and theoretical reasons, monolingual Western cities formed the empirical base for this modelling. How well does the model apply to communities that do not resemble those contexts, but that are increasingly common? I review classic tenets of sociolinguistic theory—pertaining to class, gender, social network, peer influence, and style-shifting—in the context of multilingual, diaspora and postcolonial communities. Do classic theoretical claims fall apart when we allow for such heterogeneity? I first offer evidence that mobile, multilingual, and culturally diverse populations need not undermine the original account of orderly heterogeneity in society. Indeed, in some cases such groups confirm the power of early claims. I also present more challenging evidence from these contexts, that forces us to re-calibrate some common assumptions about both language and society.