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Diversity Linguistics: Retrospect and Prospect

Closing conference of the Department of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology 

2015 May 1-3 (Leipzig, Germany)

Workshop "Grammatical hybridization and social conditions”

16-18 October 2014

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (Germany)

Organizers: Susanne Maria Michaelis & Martin Haspelmath, with Claudia Bavero


It is clear that different social conditions of language contact lead to different kinds of hybridization (= contact-induced change). In fact, Thomason & Kaufman (1988) have argued that the kinds of change that we find in contact situations primarily depend on the social conditions. But the exact dependencies between social situations and kinds of hybridization are still far from clear.

This workshop will work toward a more fine-grained and empirically based typology of the kinds of social encounters and their structural outcomes, with special reference to grammatical change. Eventually, we should be able to fill in the missing information in both directions:

(i) Given certain hybrid structures (e.g. word order calquing, loan valency, affix borrowing), which social settings (e.g. longstanding bilingualism, colonial plantation settings, written prestige language) are the most likely to have brought these linguistic structures about? And vice versa:
(ii) Given a specific social contact situation, which structural features do we expect as the result of such an encounter?

Invited speakers

  • Malcolm Ross (Australian National University, Canberra)
  • Pieter Muysken (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Local organizer

  • Claudia Bavero