Logo Spring School DGfS-CNRS Summer School on
Linguistic Typology
August 15 - September 3, 2010

Evening lectures

  • 15. August (Su, Opening):
    Brigitte Pakendorf: "Linguistic and genetic approaches to (pre-)historic population contacts" (»Lecture Hall 2)
  • 20. August (Fr):
    Bernard Comrie: "Areal Typology: From Southeast Asia to the Gran Chaco" (»Lecture Hall 8)
    Course material: Download pdf
  • 24. August (Tu):
    John Peterson: "Languages without nouns and verbs? A closer look at reference and predication in Kharia (South Munda, India)" (»Lecture Hall 8)
    Course material: Download pdf
  • 27. August (Fr):
    David Gil: "Isolating-Monocategorial-Associational Language: Typology, Ontogeny, Phylogeny" (»Lecture Hall 8)
    Course material: Download pdf
  • 31. August (Tu):
    Gereon Müller: "A Morphomic Approach to Deponency and Related Phenomena" (»Lecture Hall 8)
    Course material: Download pdf
  • 03. September (Fr, Closing):
    Jochen Trommer: "The Typology of Person Portmanteaus" (»Lecture Hall 8)
    Course material: Download pdf

Overview of courses

Each course comprises eight 90-minute sessions. The courses will be arranged in seven time slots (A-G), with three courses in each slot that take place simultaneously:

1 2 3
A Christiane von Stutterheim &
Monique Lambert
Ulrike Zeshan Peter Wittenburg &
Jacquelijn Ringersma
Second Language Acquisition and Typology Sign Language Typology Methodology and Resources (Data Bases, Corpora, Annotations)
B Jean-Michel Fortis &
Benjamin Fagard
Sabine Stoll
& Elena Lieven
Patricia Cabredo Hofherr
Space in Language Variation in First Language Development Verbal Plurality
C Ekkehard König &
Claire Moyse-Faurie
Rosemarie Tracy &
Daniel Véronique
Balthasar Bickel
Reciprocity and Reflexivity Language Contact Quantitative Methods in Typology
D Zlatka Guentchéva &
Hans-Martin Gärtner
Greville Corbett Heriberto Avelino
Evidentiality Features in Typology Laboratory Phonology and Field Phonetics
E Susanne Michaelis Barbara Stiebels Isabelle Bril &
Ulrike Mosel
Creole Languages in a World-Wide Perspective Lexical Categories and their Morphology Oceanic Languages: Documentation, Lexicography, Typology
F Denis Creissels &
Gerrit Dimmendaal
Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm &
Martine Vanhove &
Peter Koch
Martin Haspelmath
Typology of African Languages Lexical Typology The Nature of Morphosyntactic Universals
G Katharina Hartmann Sylvie Archaimbault &
Frank Alvarez-Pereyre
Ben Hermans
Typology of Questions and Answers History of Typology Phonology



Alphabetical list of faculty and course descriptions

Sylvie Archaimbault (CNRS-HTL)
& Frank Alvarez-Pereyre (CNRS-LMS)

History of Typology

The course will be structured around the three major themes below:

  • Typology before typology
  • The typological moment
  • The linguistic universals in question?

“Typology before typology”
As of the Renaissance, with the awareness of the variety of idioms, attempts could be made to organise such diversity. The purpose was to elaborate language groupings, whose certain characteristics contributed to bringing them closer, or still to suggest a single model for encompassing all of them.
This first part of the course will give us the opportunity of recanting the reflections dedicated to language kinship, throughout the various linguistic compilations, possibly through language classifications according to properly linguistic criteria, such as that of the Abbé Girard at the beginning of the XVIIIth century. Particular attention will be paid to the works of the XIXth century, which systematised kinships and filiations, while resorting to diverse (biological, anatomic, genetic) metaphors.
The works related to a language in particular were often accompanied, de facto, by a reflection with typological character. Just as much, it characterised comparative works without any explicit typological claim. We shall endeavour to pinpoint the notions and concepts, or some of them, which have marked the various expressions of an ‘a contrario’ typological thinking. We shall note the practical modalities and the characteristic underpinnings of diverse language hierarchisations which, as the case may be, involved internal criteria or external criteria, also interlacing them at times.

“The typological moment: models and research behaviours”
Apart from area-related typology, which searches for characteristics common to geographically close languages, typology has grown by resting steadfastly on comparative analyses of the structures and of the functional properties of languages, breaking free from any genetic aim. The types are then differentiated according to grammatical (flectional, agglutinating, isolating, polysynthetic languages), syntaxic (order of the constituents) criteria, recourse to quantifiers… In this second part of the course, we shall present an overview of the different approaches at work in typological processes. We shall touch upon the conditions wherein the typological moment is said to appear as such, the better to delineate the (more or less stable or variable) boundaries among the three tenses offered for teaching, and for hearing in a different manner what typologists state about themselves and their activity.

“The linguistic universals in question?"
The study of linguistic diversity appears to be linked with what forms the limitation thereof, i.e. the universals in language. The hypothesis of universals, indeed, pushes to the extreme the hypothesis of a community of features and functions associated with speech and language. We ought consequently to have a close look at the terms of such a hypothesis, to consider the relative relevance as well as the limits thereof. In parallel, it will be noted that opinions are voiced to go back to the hypothesis of universals: claiming that such a hypothesis would lead without fail to leave aside the very essence of any given language. Thus, too rigid and forced-upon application of the hypothesis of universals would cause the fundamentally constitutive features of a language to be overlooked, thereby defeating the way we should logically consider said language. We would then adopt what would be considered an ‘a posteriori’ typology, which could only exist once languages had been identified properly.
The issue raised concerns the very foundations of description, since the latter is always theoretically and methodologically guided, and hence a contrario typological, de facto.

Heriberto Avelino (MPI EVA)

Laboratory Phonology and Field Phonetics

In recent years, a wealth new linguistic data is becoming available through the flowering of language documentation projects. One area that still needs further development is the investigation of the phonetic structures of the world's languages. This course looks at the theoretical, empirical, and practical aspects of fieldwork phonetics and laboratory phonology applied in the field. This course provides the student with hands-on experience in methods of experimental phonetic research done in the field. A number of techniques and methods such as acoustic analysis, aerodynamics of speech, kinematics as well as perceptual experiments will be covered in the course.

Balthasar Bickel (University of Leipzig)

Quantitative Methods in Typology

Course materials

The study of cross-linguistic variation is currently undergoing rapid changes, driven to a large extent by the development and use of advanced techniques in quantitative methods. This course introduces into some of the methods that play a key role in this. The first part of the course will be devoted to issues arising from comparing individual structures (such as specific kinds of clause linkage or specific kinds of morphology). We will look into new methods that allow capturing cross-linguistic similarities without glossing over the specificities of individual languages and the variation attested within languages. The second part of the course we will be devoted to current research on the worldwide distribution of cross-linguistic patterns. In particular, we will discuss methods that allow teasing apart the relative contribution of universal pressure, language contact and inheritance by descent.
Throughout the course, emphasis will be on the theoretical rationale behind methods and the way they fit into an overall understanding of linguistic diversity. However, each method introduced will also be illustrated by worked examples, including discussion of how methods can actually be applied in practice.

Isabelle Bril (CNRS-LACITO)
& Ulrike Mosel (University of Kiel)

Oceanic Languages: Documentation, Lexicography, Typology


  • DAY 1 – Session 1 (Mosel) Introduction to Oceanic linguistics: The first session starts with an overview of Oceanic languages, their genetic subgrouping and their typological profile and then outlines the sociolinguistic situation of Oceanic speech communities. The session ends with a brief history of Oceanic linguistics and the challenges of future
  • DAY 2 – Session 2 (Mosel) Language Documentation In this session the students are introduced into the main issues of language documentation. They learn the basics of collaborative fieldwork and how to build up a corpus of a previously unresearched Oceanic language.
  • DAY 3 – Session 3 (Mosel) Grammaticography: corpus analysis, complementary elicitation, and writing grammars This session discusses the content and structure of grammars with a focus on Oceanic languages and gives some practical advice of how to organise the workflow of writing a grammar.
  • DAY 4– Session 4 (Mosel) Lexical typology, word classes and lexicography This session first outlines the aims of lexical typology with a focus on polysemy and heterosemy (conversion) and then addresses the problem of word classification in Oceanic languages. The session concludes with some recommendations of how to set up a lexical database for an Oceanic language and eventually transform the database into a dictionary.


  • DAY 1 – Session 1 (Bril) Complex predicates in Oceanic languages This session will give a typological overview of complex predicates (serial verbs) in Oceanic languages. Definitional criteria, types of complex predicates (nuclear or core-layer types, same-subject or switch-subject, symmetrical vs. asymmetrical types), their various functions and their semantics will be analysed.
  • DAY 2 – Session 2 (Bril) NP conjunction: additive, inclusory and comitative strategies. The focus will be on some asymmetrical conjunctive types found in the inclusory and comitative types. The syntactic constraints and semantic parameters on the use of these conjunctive constructions will be delineated, as well as their pragmatic effects, and a brief presentation of the etymology of some of these conjunctive morphemes.
  • DAY 3 & 4 – Session 3 & 4 (Bril) Clause linking: Coordination, Subordination and Information Structure Various strategies and types of clause complexification and their markers will be presented (clause-chaining, tail linking or cueing constructions, temporal or logical sequencing with directional or motion coverbs), as well as strategies and markers relating to referential and informational hierarchy, and more classical subordinating uses of nominalisation or adpositional strategies.

References: » download (pdf): [1]

Patricia Cabredo Hofherr (CNRS-SFL)

Verbal Plurality

Course materials

This course aims to give an overview of the phenomena involving the linguistic expression of event plurality with a particular focus on plurality marking on verbs. First, I will examine an inventory of formal means that are common cross-linguistically to mark event plurality.

  • pluractional marking on verbs (as described e.g. in Müller et al 2007 for Karitiana, Van Geenhoven 2004, 2005 for Greenlandic, Yu 2003 for Chechen, Veselinova 2008, see also the contributions to Xrakovskij 1997)
  • affixes indicating repetition (e.g. re- on Romance and English verbs)
  • iteration induced by imperfective tenses (Une bombe explosait (* toutes les deux minutes) A bomb exploded.IMPF (* every two minutes)
  • adverbs and adverbial clauses:
    • adverbs presupposing a previous event (e.g. the equivalents of English again, still, Italian ancora, French encore Modern Hebrew od, Greenberg 2009
    • “counting adverbs”e.g. English twice, many times
    • frequency adverbs e.g. English often French souvent vs degree adverbs e.g. English a lot French beaucoup (Doetjes 2008)
    • adverbial clauses expressing frequency e.g. every time he comes home
  • verbal periphrases: (e.g. ir+gerund/andar+gerund in Spanish, Laca 2006)
  • plural arguments: e.g. John built three houses /many houses.

The second part of the course will examine the semantic differences between the different formal means marking event plurality. Types of event plurality: Cusic’s 1981 distinction between event-internal and event-external plurality. Scope properties of the event plurality: As pointed out by Laca 2006, the pluractional markers described by van Geenhoven and Yu only have scope over the verb adverbials can have scope over the arguments, too:

  • pluractional marking on the verb cannot induce a multiplication of a singular argument, while adverbs can: John ate an apple three times -> three apples
  • pluractional marking in Greenlandic and Chechen is not compatible with specification of a precise number of times e.g. adverbs such as three times, unlike iterative prefixes that may allow this John reread the book three times.

Finally, we will compare event plurality expressed on verbs and by adverbs with plurality expressed in the nominal domain (see Bach 1986, Corbett 2000, Doetjes 2007, Newman 1990).

References: » download (pdf): [1]

Greville Corbett (University of Surrey)

Features in Typology

Course materials:

If we consider the widely varying approaches to languages, we find one thing that is shared by almost all: namely the use of features. They have a central place in theoretical syntax and morphology, and are the subject of major typological generalizations. Although features underpin a good deal of what we do in linguistics, they have been neglected: they are used in inconsistent ways, without sufficient attention to the logic of their use and the variety of their meanings. The course will therefore consider why features are so important in linguistics, and set out the different types of feature. We then consider the basic and challenging issue of how we establish the features and values of a particular language. We then have to ask whether and how we can compare features across languages. We whall analyse particularly the genuinely morphosyntactic features (number, gender, person, case, and in rare instances definiteness and respect), since these are in many ways the most interesting. We shall see that they do indeed offer interesting typological patterns, while also displaying remarkable diversity.

Denis Creissels (University of Lyon, CNRS)
& Gerrit Dimmendaal (University of Cologne)

Typology of African Languages

Course materials Creissels
Course materials Dimmendaal 1
Course materials Dimmendaal 2
Course materials Dimmendaal 3
Course materials Dimmendaal 4

Dennis Creissels
The part of the course on African language typology taught by Denis Creissels will be devoted to the morphosyntactic typology of the languages spoken in West, Central and Southern Africa, i.e., in the part of the African continent predominantly occupied by language families grouped into the Niger-Congo phylum as it was delimited by Greenberg. The particular points that will be developed have been selected in accordance with the interest of the data provided by the languages spoken in this area for the points in question. This part of the course will be structured as follows: 1. General information on the languages of West, Central and Southern Africa from the point of view of genetic affiliations and areal typology. 2. The transitive construction and alignment typology: coding characteristics of the transitive construction (A and P marking, A and P cross-referencing, core NP vs. oblique NP contrast, constituent order); intransitive alignment; ditransitive alignment. 3. Gender and noun classes, number, definiteness, possession. 4. Argument structure and operations on verb valency: valency changes without any coding, morphologically coded valency changes, valency changes involving grammaticalized periphrases. 5. Co-ordination: NP co-ordination, clause co-ordination.

Gerrit Dimmendaal
In this course we will focus on two language families in northeastern Africa, Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic. More specifically, we will be looking at intragenetic and intergenetic variation at the clausal level in these two phyla. Three topics in particular will play a prominent role in the course: Case-marking strategies, the role of verb morphology, and constituent order. For example, within the Eastern Sudanic branch of Nilo-Saharan there is tremendous typological variation with respect to these parameters. The intergenetic comparison (between Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic languages) will serve as a basis for the typological investigation in particular of issues such as split ergativity, fluid-S and strict-S systems, Marked Nominative systems, Differential Object Marking, and the use of converbs as against other clause-chaining strategies.

Jean-Michel Fortis (CNRS-HTL)
& Benjamin Fagard (CNRS-LATTICE)

Space in Language

Course materials:

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the linguistic study of the expression of spatial relations. It should acquaint the participant with the historical development, descriptive tools, theoretical underpinnings and major achievements of this linguistics of space.
The last thirty five years (or so) have witnessed a considerable rise of interest in the relation of language to space. This is partly due to the expansion of cognitive linguistics, for which the linguistic expression of spatial relations has been a central issue from its inception. This historical context is remarkable enough to deserve special attention. Accordingly, the emergence of this issue will be retraced and set against the background of the concomitant development of cognitive linguistics. The pioneering studies of the field (those of Talmy, Herskovits, Brugman, Lakoff, Vandeloise, and others) will be presented, and their theoretical apparatus exposed. Special emphasis will be laid on the semantics of spatial adpositions and on the problems posed by accounts which rely on the prototype theory of semantic categories. This part of the course will also provide an outline of Levinson’s crosslinguistic typology of spatial reference frames and of the work which it has inspired. Other frameworks which similarly touch on the cognitive representation of linguistic frames will be presented too. Since adpositions are only one of the strategies used to encode spatial relations, it is necessary to take a broader, crosslinguistic perspective on the types of spatial markers that have been identified so far in the languages of the world. An attempt at an inventory of spatial markers will be made. However, for reasons to be explained (and which go beyond the mere limitations of our survey), it will be shown that this inventory can hardly be exhaustive.
The next topic pertains to the importance of spatial relations in the structuring of other conceptual fields (“localism”). A number of authors (Talmy, Jackendoff, Lakoff, Heine…) have argued for the centrality of space in the cognitive organization of temporal relations, possession, the conceptualization of change and the ascription of properties to entities. Their arguments will be reviewed and discussed. From a linguistic point of view, studies on the grammaticalization or the metaphorical extension of spatial markers are especially relevant and will receive special consideration. The course will then turn to the linguistic representation of dynamic events, in particular to the typology of constructions which refer to motion events. This line of research takes its origin in the work of Talmy (though it has forerunners) and has considerably expanded since, especially under the influence of Slobin. A critical examination of this typology leads us to question whether a neat demarcation of spatial markers within a construction is possible. The difficulties attendant upon Talmy-Slobin’s typology call for a revision that will be laid out here. The extension of dynamic expressions to the description of static relations, and the notions of abstract or fictive motion will be discussed. Finally, a session will be devoted to the expression of static deixis and deictic motion. Although the focus of this course is on linguistic approaches, occasional reference will be made to psycholinguistic research (in particular to studies on acquisition and reference frames) when deemed appropriate.

Hans-Martin Gärtner (ZAS)
& Zlatka Guentchéva (CNRS-LACITO)


The goal of the first part of the course (first week), taught by Guentcheva, is to give a comprehensive overview of formal and semantic properties of evidentials, their history and the types of languages from which one may build a typology of this phenomenon across languages. Furthermore, we will consider the notion of evidentiality as well as the main theoretical discussions concerning the distinction between evidentiality as a grammatical category and evidentiality as a more general functional category who includes not only grammatical but also lexical expressions. Finally, we will claim in favour of a clear distinction between evidentiality and epistemic modality.
This first part of the course will be structured as follows:

  1. General information on evidentials on the basis of wide variety of data found in verbal systems across languages (Barnes 1984; Chafe & Nichols 1985; Aikenvald & Dixon (eds) 2003; Guentchéva (ed) 1996; Johanson 2000; Guentchéva & Landaburu (eds) 2007) and history of the notion of evidentiality (Seler 1887 et Minhof 1906 cited by Cassirer 1923; Boas 1911, 1947; Jacobsen 1986; Comrie 2000 among others);
  2. Typology of evidential systems: a brief survey (Willett 1988; Anderson 1986; Aikhenvald 2004);
  3. Evidentiality defined as a purely grammarical or functional and conceptual domain (Aikhenvald 2004; Boye & Harder 2009; Wiemer 2009, etc.);
  4. Relationship between evidentiality and epistemic modality (van der Auwera & Plungian 1998; de Haan 2001; Cornellie 2009 among others)

Zlatka Guentchéva will give her course in French with long and detailed English handouts (first week).

The second part (second week), taught by Gärtner, will introduce and critically assess various recent attempts at integrating aspects of evidentiality into systems of grammar and interpretation. Particular attention will be paid to reportive evidentiality and how it interacts with mood, modality and illocutionary force.
This second part of the course will be structured as follows:

1.&2. Morphosyntax (a.o. Cinque, G. 1999. Adverbs and Functional Heads. Oxford.)
3.&4. Semantics/Pragmatics (a.o. Faller, M. 2002. Semantics and Pragmatics of Evidentials in   Cuzco Quechua. Stanford Ph.D.)

Hans-Martin Gärtner will give his course in English using detailed slides, downloadable (or sent by e-mail) after each lecture.

Katharina Hartmann (Humboldt University Berlin)

Typology of Questions and Answers

The languages of the world exhibit quite some variation in the formal expression of questions. This may concern the position of the interrogative pronoun, the possibility of multiple wh-questions, the availability, type and position of question particles, the presence of resumptive pronouns, or the question intonation. In this course, we investigate typological patterns of wh-questions and yes-no-questions. We start by looking at the positions of the interrogative pronouns in wh-questions. Two basic types will be differentiated: The interrogative pronouns either appear in the base-position of the constituents they replace (in situ) or in a different position (ex situ). Typical representatives of the first type are Chinese and Japanese. In ex situ languages, the interrogative pronouns either appear all in the left periphery of the clause (e.g. the Slavic languages), or preverbally, as e.g. in some of the Chadic languages, in Malayalam, or in Turkish. Finally, some languages have postponed interrogative pronouns, see e.g. Spanish or Italian. The in situ and ex situ realizations of interrogative pronouns may also be combined. This is the case in German and English, where only one interrogative pronoun is fronted, while additional ones remain in situ. We then look at resumptive pronouns and dwell on the question why they seem to be more frequent in relative clauses than in wh-questions across the languages of the world. Our analysis of the form, position and function of question particles will finally lead us to the second type of questions treated in this course, the yes-no-questions. After a closer look at different typological patterns that serve to express these questions, we investigate the interesting choice of the disjunctive marker as a question particle (e.g. in the Chadic languages).

Martin Haspelmath (MPI EVA)

The Nature of Morphosyntactic Universals

In this course, we will discuss general structural properties of human languages in the area of morphosyntax from a broadly comparative perspective. In the current climate, grammatical universals are not unproblematic: After a period of radical (structuralist) particularism and another half-century of enthusiastic (generative and Greenbergian) universalism, the pendulum is swinging back again. Language universals are called “a myth”, the universality of fundamental design features such as recursion are thrown into doubt, and the universality of structural categories is being denied. At the same time, it is clear that only a small part of the space of logically possible language structures is actually populated by attested languages. I will use a fair number of diverse examples to motivate an approach to universals that is rigorous, non-aprioristic, quantitative, adaptationist, and diachronically oriented, and I will discuss its relation to a number of alternatives (especially of generative provenience).

Ekkehard König (Free University of Berlin)
& Claire Moyse-Faurie (CNRS-LACITO)

Reciprocity and Reflexivity

Course materials:

The main goal of this course is to map out the space of variation and the limits of variation in the encoding of these two closely related notional domains, which often overlap in their formal expression. Based on our own work (König & Gast, 2006; 2008; Moyse, 2008) and that of other projects (e.g. Faltz, 1985; Nedjalkov, 2007; Evans, 2008; to appear; etc.), we will distinguish between different types of reflexive and reciprocal markers and describe their interaction with other grammatical and semantic categories in terms of implicational connections. The typical processes of gramaticalization manifested by those markers constitute a further focus of our course. Since intensifiers (Lat. ipse, Russ. sam, German selbst, etc.) provide an important source for the development, reinforcement and renewal of reflexive markers (and partly also reciprocal markers), their analysis and typology will also be included in our course. Furthermore, we will include in our course the middle voice, which is also close related to our two focal areas. In order to provide solid semantic foundations for our discussions we will not only look at recent work in syntactic theory (various versions of the Binding Theory) and in formal semantics, but also consider concepts of reciprocity and reflexivity developed in fields outside of linguistics (philosophy, sociology, biology, cultural studies). Our course will be based on descriptive, typological and theoretical studies and also include the results of recent field work carried out in the South Pacific. In addition to our analyses of the strategies found across languages for the encoding of reflexivity and reciprocity we will also discuss some general issues and problems of doing field work and of formulating adequate typological generalizations (including canonical typology). Unlike variation in word order, the choice of specific strategies for marking reflexivity and reciprocity does not constitute a major parameter of typological variation that correlates with many other formal properties. In contrast to many of such major parameters, however, it provides the opportunity to discuss important and interesting questions of semantic distinctions and semantic analysis.

Both instructors will teach in English.

References: » download (pdf): [1]

Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm (Stockholm University)
& Martine Vanhove (CNRS-LLACAN)
& Peter Koch (Tübingen University)

Lexical Typology

Course materials:

Lexical typology is still in its infancy. Even if something like lexical typology has been conceived as early as in the 1950-ies (Ullmann 1953; Greenberg 1957), typological research on the lexicon has been relatively modest, as compared to the impressive progress within typological research in grammar and phonetics / phonology (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2008, Koptjevskaja-Tamm et al. 2007). There are likewise very few established semantic universals in the lexicon (Goddard 2001, von Fintel & Matthewson 2008, the Universals Archive at the Universtität Konstanz). The course will concentrate on what we view as the three central foci of lexical typology:

  • Onomasiological perspective: What meanings can and cannot be expressed by a single word in different languages? Lexicalizations and lexicalization patterns, “universal” vs. language-specific lexicalizations, categorization within, or carving up of lexical fields / semantic domains by lexical items, the architecture of the lexical fields / semantic domains (e.g. basic words vs. derived words).
  • Semasiological perspective: What different meanings can be expressed by one and the same lexeme, by lexemes within one and the same synchronic word family (words linked by derivational relations) or by lexemes historically derived from each other? Cross-linguistically recurrent patterns in the relations among the words and lexical items in the lexicon, e.g. semantic motivation (polysemy, semantic associations / semantic shifts) and morphological motivation (derivational patterns, including compounding).
  • Lexicon-grammar borderline: What cross-linguistic patterns are there in lexicon-grammar interaction?

These issues will be discussed against the background of typological research in general (e.g. Lehmann 1990) as well as that of research in cognitive semantics in a very broad sense (Koch 2001). We will also largely use our own work. The last part of the course will be based on the recent results of a joint project concerning the typology of semantic associations, i.e. polysemy, heterosemy and semantic change within the lexicon, in a sample of 45 languages, as proposed in Vanhove (ed.) 2008 (in particular in N. Family, A. François, E. Bonvini, Ch. Hénault, M. Masson, M.Vanhove, S. Sakhno, N. Tersis).

The course will consist of the following blocks.
Lexical typology: general (Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm). Topics covered • Lexical typology, semantic typology, typology: definitions, illustrations and overview • Major methodological and theoretical challenges facing lexical typology • Case study: LINGUISTICS OF TEMPERATURE
Onomasiological perspective in lexical typology: cognitive and linguistic aspects (Peter Koch) Topics covered: • The substantialist approach (e.g. Wierzicka 1999; Goddard 2001) vs. the relational approach. • Organisation of lexical hierarchies in different languages (are there cross-linguistic constants?). • Motivation, the degree (and the semantic profile) of lexical motivation as a typological parameter (Koch/Marzo 2007). • Syntagmatic problems of lexical typology: selectional restrictions, divergence concerning the organisation of verb valency, Talmy’s (1985; 2000) approach to motion verbs. • Case studies: POSSESSION, EXISTENCE, and LOCATION; Psych verbs
Semasiological perspective: the typology of semantic associations (Martine Vanhove) Topics covered: • Semantic spaces, semantic maps, notional islands and co-lexification: synchronic approaches. Case studies: Polysemies of EAT and BREATHE • The typology of semantic associations and cultural approaches. Case studies: EAT, CATS, BUGS • Possible universals of semantic associations: synchronic and diachronic approaches. Case studies: Sensory modalities (SEE, HEAR), and proximity and opposition (FRIEND, ENEMY)

Susanne Michaelis (MPI EVA, Gießen University)

Creole Languages in a World-Wide Perspective

Course materials:

As the APiCS data are still very much preliminary and not published yet, the maps and tallies are missing from the handouts, which are made available here. As from 2012, the data will be published online (APiCS online, published by the Max Planck Digital Library Munich 2012) and in the book version:
Michaelis, Susanne & Maurer, Philippe & Haspelmath, Martin & Huber, Magnus. 2012. The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures, Oxford: OUP.

Class 1
Class 2
Class 3
Class 4
Class 5
Class 6
Class 7
Class 8

This course will give an introduction to creole languages, e.g. Haitian Craole, Jamaican Creole, Sranan, Pichi, Kinubi etc., and place them into a world-wide perspective of language variation. After an overview of the current theories of creolization/pidginization, we will look at specific creoles and examine their respective substrates (i.e. the different languages of the slaves or laborers) and superstrates (i.e. the dialectal and nonstandard varieties of the colonial European languages) to get an impression of the kind of structural mixture that characterizes these languages.
At the center of the course, two major claims within creole studies will be examined (and ultimately disconfirmed): (1) that creole languages are to a large extent uniform, and that they all exhibit a range of "typical creole features", (2) that creole languages show "the world's simplest grammars".
Both claims can only be tested by first of all comparing creoles with each other and then considering creoles against the world-wide diversity of languages. As this requires systematic cross-linguistic data, the course will make use of the results of WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures, Oxford 2005) and preliminary results of APiCS (Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures), an ongoing collaborative project on a great variety of pidgins and creoles.

Barbara Stiebels (ZAS)

Lexical Categories and their Morphology

The traditional classification of lexical categories is based on ontological considerations (e.g. nouns as object-denoting, verbs as eventuality-denoting and adjectives as property-denoting items) as well as on morphosyntactic markings (e.g. functional categories such as tense/aspect/mood on verbs, determiners on nouns and comparative morphology on adjectives). Linguistic typology has revealed that the postulated major categories (verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, adpositions) are not universal; languages may lack adjectives and/or adpositions and express the notions associated with these categories by nouns or verbs. Moreover, even the universality of the noun-verb distinction has been questioned (e.g. for Salish, Iroquaian or Oceanic languages). A weaker version of the latter claim would be that not all languages distinguish nouns and verbs on the root level, but only on the word or phrase level. Consequently, languages differ with respect to the presence of category-specific and category-deriving morphology. In addition, languages may exhibit a clear categorial distinction in one part of their morphology (e.g. a clear noun-verb distinction in terms of TMA markings), but lack a clear distinction in other parts of their morphology (e.g. argument linking). It is the aim of this course to discuss the criteria for the identification of lexical categories and the commonalities and differences between the various categories in terms of their morphology.
In detail, the course will deal with

  • category-specific and cross-categorial morphology
  • the cross-classification of categories (i.a. the discussion of various featural systems proposed in linguistic theories)
  • symmetries and asymmetries between categories (with a focus on noun-verb (a-)symmetries
  • the role of paradigms
  • the role of category-shifting morphology
  • affix orders in lexical categories (including the question of templatic morphology)
  • the types of morphological exponence in lexical categories (e.g. the presence of non-concatenative morphology such as reduplication in the various categories and their function)

Note that inflectional categories such as gender/number and evidentiality will be dealt with in other courses of the summer school and, therefore, are not in the focus of this course.

Sabine Stoll (MPI EVA)
& Elena Lieven (MPI EVA, University of Manchester)

Course materials:

Variation in First Language Development

There is extreme variation in the languages of the world, and this variation is important for language acquisition research because it shows us what children need to be able to cope with in learning language. This course explores the role of differences in linguistic structure in the process of language acquisition. The course seeks to track developmental patterns in children learning different languages and to compare these different developmental paths. Both cross-linguistic variation and individual variation will be in the focus of our attention. Results from individual languages and comparative language acquisition research on a variety of topics will be presented. Topics include the early vocabulary with specific emphasis on the role of verbs and nouns, the acquisition of tense and aspect, ergativity, and the role of child-directed speech in various cultural settings. A major focus of discussion will be the methodological challenges in comparing developmental data of different languages.

Rosemarie Tracy (University of Mannheim)
& Daniel Véronique (Université de Provence)

Language Contact

Course materials:

The course focuses on language contact from an individual and a societal perspective and attempts to integrate grammatical, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic theories on various types of contact phenomena. The overall structure of the course will be such that both the beginning and the final sections will provide a theoretical frame, with the middle section offering a forum for discussing different empirical domains, from language mixing as a stylistic resource in adults and mixing in young bilingual children, to language attrition, pidginization, creolization and the emergence of new languages.
The course takes its departure from a look at relevant theoretical approaches to language contact phenomena (from the early position of Weinreich, the work by Tabouret-Keller & LePage to theories by Thompson, Myers-Scotton, Clyne, and the spectrum of approaches found in the Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching edited by Bullock & Toribio 2009). We will consider formal and functional properties of various kinds of contact phenomena (borrowing, mixing/code-switching, interference, and convergence processes) and highlight empirical and theoretical problems of differentiating between them.
We will discuss questions such as: What are the socio-symbolic functions of language mixing? Are there universal (grammatical) constraints on code-switching? To what extent does mixing depend on similarities and contrasts between the grammars of the languages “in contact”? Are there individual mixing styles? What do we know about the production and processing of mixed speech? What insights does second-language acquisition provide to our understanding of the emergence of new languages? Are there theoretical models which take into account both formal and functional features of contact phenomena?

Christiane von Stutterheim (Heidelberg University)
& Monique Lambert (Université Paris VIII)

Second Language Acquisition and Typology

Course materials:

The objective of the seminar is to show how language specific properties in different domains of reference influence L2 learners at late stages of acquisition. Teaching is based on empirical crosslinguistic studies carried out in the University of Heidelberg with the cooperation of University Paris 8. Findings are based on a wide array of production tasks (narratives, descriptions of video clips) and experimental procedures (eye tracking, measures of voice onset time) carried out by adult native speakers and L2 learners. Concerning L1 speakers, analysis revealed that decisions made at the conceptual level, i.e. information selection, ordering and coding and event representation are globally shared by speakers of a specific language, and contrast in some ways with speakers of another language. Detailed analysis of these contrasts in the light of grammatical resources offered by languages suggest that selections are determined by specific clusters of linguistic features (+/- aspectual ongoing marking, word order constraints, role of the subject, packaging of spatial information in manner oriented languages vs. path). Comparisons with L2 very advanced and near native speakers in the same eliciting tasks show that although production is formally correct at the sentence level, there remains to a large extent influences of the preferred options of their L1. After a brief account of our studies we shall focus on problems related to transfer in L2 in the light of current production processing models.
Following this global overview we will deal in detail with the methodological issues posed by crosslinguistic and L2 research concerning the choice of languages with respect to their similar and differing grammaticed means, the choice of eliciting tasks to capture decisions at both macro and micro level with additional experimental conditions such as time pressure, eye tracking movements, etc. Particular stress will be put on the collective analysis of L1 and L2 German, English and French data focusing on the comparative means used to express temporal and spatial relations and to mark information structure.

Ben Hermans (Meertens Institute Amsterdam)


Course materials:

A. A short description of the prosodic part of the course

1) In the first session the syllable is discussed. First we will ask why the syllable is necessary and how it is structured (does it have moras, or X-bar constituency, or is it structured in terms of nodes labeled Onset and Nucleus?). Then we offer a typology of the syllable. Finally, we will discuss various theories of the sonority scale and how this scale regulates the fundamental properties of the syllable.
2) In the second session we present a typology of various processes that apply in the domain of the syllable. The most important processes that will be discussed are coda-reduction, diphthongization and Compensatory Lengthening.
3) In the third session we present a typology of the foot. A part of the session is also dedicated to the literature that denies the existence of foot structure (grid-only theories). Independent evidence (external to stress and prosodic morphology) is presented to the effect that feet do exist.
4) In the fourth session we present a typology of some of the frequent processes that apply within the domain of the foot. In particular we will discuss vowel reduction and stress-dependent harmony.

B. A short description of the segmental phonology

1) During the first session we will discuss the phenomenon of compensatory lengthening (CL), the different types of CL that occur in the languages of the world, and the related representational problems (mora’s, X’s).
2) The second session will be devoted to the phenomenon of consonant prevocalization, how the process must be understood and the ways in which it differs from other phonological processes, such as diphthongization and vowel epenthesis.
3) The third session will be devoted to the parameters of nasal harmony, on the basis of a number of pilot studies taken from African and Amerindian languages.
4) In the fourth session we will address theories of voicing and devoicing and test their validity against a set of languages that have different variants of voicing assimilation and devoicing.

Peter Wittenburg (MPI Nijmegen)
& Jacquelijn Ringersma (MPI Nijmegen)
& Alexander König (MPI Nijmegen)
& Menzo Windhouwer (MPI Nijmegen)

Methodology and Resources (Data Bases, Corpora, Annotations)

Course materials:

Session 2 [MetaData]
Session 3 [LEXUS-ViCoS]
Session 5 [LEXUS-ViCoS]
Session 6 [LEXUS-ViCoS]
Session 7 [IsoCat], [IsaCat 2], [TDS], [TDS 2]
Session 8 [Language Archive]
Lexus guide [pdf]
ViCoS guide [pdf]

Modern fieldwork on languages and cultures often focuses on collecting large amounts of primary data, e.g. photos, audio and video recordings, and annotating them with many layers of different types of linguistic, anthropological, musicological etc. types of encodings. The types of annotations depend largely on the intended analysis and can contain encodings of for example gestures, intonation and emotions, in addition to the classical linguistic layers such as transcription, translation, morpho-syntactic glossing, semantics etc. From this basic material and other sources, additional resource types are derived such as lexica, typological features classifying the language in focus, relations between fragments of resources, description about the phonemic system and others. All this information can be seen as a virtual collection describing a certain language, although the resources may reside in different repositories and even in different databases such as typology databases containing many records of various languages. One of the interesting questions in the eResearch scenario is how we can offer the researcher possibilities to create such virtual collections, which are based on explicit and stable repositories, explicit syntax specifications and declared semantics. In the course we will describe the characteristics of such basic elements that allow us to build such virtual collections and the options for using the material in an integrated way.

Participants of this course need to bring their own portable computer (WLAN available).

Ulrike Zeshan (University of Central Lancashire)

Sign Language Typology

Course materials:

This course, co-taught by a deaf and a hearing instructor, will have three parts. In the first part, sign languages and deaf communities are introduced to the participants. We explain basic notions of linguistic structure in visual-gestural languages and discuss sociolingusitic characteristics of deaf communities, both in urban areas and in villages with a high incidence of hereditary deafness.
In the second part, we look at several case studies of systematic comparative investigations across various samples of sign languages. On the basis of a wide variety of data, including the demonstration of video data, the course participants are introduced to typological patterns of structural variation that we can find in the sign language modality. The grammatical domains covered here include word classes, negation, interrogatives, and possession.
Finally, the last part of the course summarises the approach to sign language typology. Having acquired knowledge of a substantial variety of structures in sign languages, we focus on the theoretical implications of these findnigs, as well as on methodological challenges associated with research in sign language typology.