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Session 3 - Claire Bowern: The life, growth and death of languages

The number of languages in the world is not constant: existing languages change, they split into new varieties and languages; new languages emerge, and languages cease to be spoken. Work in this area sits at the intersection of socio- and anthropological linguistics, historical reconstruction, and language documentation.

The study of language change has an important history in the field of linguistics, with several hundred years of work on the ways in which sound systems, and morphological systems can change over time. More recently, we have seen an increase in the study of change under contact conditions, and how those changes relate to broader processes of language split, birth, and death. This section has sessions which fall under all these topics, from language change and split to language death and revitalization. The session represents the diversity of outcomes of linguistic phenomena in contact and change.

Research into the ways in which a single language can split into multiple ones has recently been given new impetus by the increasing use of computational phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. A renewed interest in combining the study of linguistic variation with that of diffusion and change has also led to new insights in this area.

Language endangerment is increasing as smaller languages fall out of use. There is now much evidence for language endangerment and the community dynamics which lead to language loss and shift; but as yet the linguistics of such situations is understudied. Although we know that languages can undergo radical changes in their last generation, we do not yet have a general idea of the extent of such changes.

The social dynamics of communities which have led to large-scale language endangerment have brought about other types of language change apart from language shift and language death. For example, in several areas in the world we are seeing the creating of new 'Young People's Varieties'; these are mixed languages with features from not only the contact varieties, but new features as well. Other mixed languages are better established in the contact literature. Thus at the same time that the world is losing a great deal of its long-standing linguistic diversity, some new diversity through contact varieties is being created. Another facet of new language creation is the structural changes which revitalized languages undergo. It has long been recognized that revitalized languages (such as Hebrew, Kaurna, and Myaamia) are not identical to the languages they originated from. However, the ways in which they differ is still understudied.

  • Reconstructing language change
  • Language split and 'speciation'
  • Contact-induced language change
  • New languages (e.g. young people's varieties, mixed languages, other contact varieties)
  • The linguistics of language endangerment and death
  • Language revitalization

22.07.2013   10:30-12:30

Chair: David Bradley

10:30 - 11:00 Eugen HILL
Language contact and the inflectional morphology of genetically related languages
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11:00 - 11:30 Andriy DANYLENKO
Language Change: Complexification or Simplification?
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11:30 - 12:00 Davi ALBUQUERQUE
The rise of East Timor Portuguese variety and its Creoles roots
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12:00 - 12:30 Michel DEGRAFF et al.
Computational Phylogenetics, Creole Languages and Family Values
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22.07.2013   14:00-16:00

Chair: Michel DeGraff

14:00 - 14:30 Angela RALLI
On borrowing verbs: evidence from Greek dialectal variation
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14:30 - 15:00 Khawaja A. REHMAN
Level of Endangerment of the Kundal Shahi Language
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15:00 - 16:00 Claire BOWERN
The life, growth and death of languages
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22.07.2013   16:30-18:30

Chair: John Mansfield

16:30 - 17:00 David BRADLEY
Resilience linguistics, language maintenance and language revitalisation
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17:00 - 17:30 Lenka ZAJÍCOVÁ
Variation and Grammaticalization in Moribund Languages: The Case of Immigrant Czech in Paraguay
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17:30 - 18:00 Liisa VILKKI
The semantic diversity of inferentials in some endangered languages of North and South America
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18:00 - 18:30 Francesco GARDANI
Allogenous exaptation
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22.07.2013   18:30-19:30

Title: -- Poster session --
Chair: -- Poster session --

18:30 - 19:30 Camiel HAMANS
Towards a MTV-Sprachbund; How language contact influences prosodic morphological patterns
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18:30 - 19:30 Haruko SANADA
Transference and adaptation of the terms from Japan to China at the beginning of the 20th century
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18:30 - 19:30 Nasir Abbas Rizvi SYED et al.
The role of a dominant language and markedness in the obsolescence of a moribund language
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18:30 - 19:30 Olivier BAILBLÉ
Analyse diachronique des emprunts lexicaux du chinois dans la langue coréenne
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