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[WS107] Grammatical Variation within Standard Varieties of Pluricentric Languages


Authors : Martin Businger, Susanne Oberholzer

Title : Grammatical Variation within Standard Varieties of Pluricentric Languages

Pluricentric languages exhibit regional variation on all linguistic levels. However, while differences on the phonetic and the lexical level are highly salient and perceived easily, differing structures on the morphological or syntactical level frequently pass unnoticed. As a result, linguistic discourse on pluricentric languages is often restricted to the former two levels. In contrast, this workshop will focus on the variation of syntax and morphology, addressing questions and topics regarding standard varieties of pluricentric languages like the following:

  • Is grammatical variation within a standard language as prevalent as lexical or phonetic variation?
  • Is morphological variation more likely to occur than syntactic variation or vice versa? Why?
  • Does (near-)symmetry between the centres of a pluricentric language facilitate grammatical variation?
  • What is the (empirical and theoretical) status of relative variants (variants that occur throughout the language area, but that are more frequent in one centre than in others) as opposed to absolute variants (variants that can be attested in some areas only)?
  • How does language contact increase grammatical variation within pluricentric languages?

Furthermore, we will deal with methodological issues concerning research on grammatical variation within the standard varieties of pluricentric languages, in particular, but not exclusively, with the following questions:

  • How are grammatical variants of a standard language to be distinguished from ‘grammar errors’, based on, e.g., dialectal interference? How can standard and sub-standard varieties of pluricentric languages be differentiated?
  • How can the use of large electronic corpora provide new insights into grammatical variation within standard languages?
  • What steps will have to be taken to improve the state of documentation of less studied pluricentric languages?

Confirmed speaker: Prof. Dr. Joachim Scharloth, Dokkyo University. Prof. Scharloth will give a lecture about data-driven approaches in corpus linguistic grammar research.



Ammon, Ulrich (1995): Die deutsche Sprache in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Das Problem der nationalen Varietäten. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Clyne, Michael (ed.) (1992): Pluricentric Languages. Differing Norms in Different Nations. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Clyne, Michael (2004): Pluricentric Language. In: Handbooks of linguistics and communication science. Vol.3: Sociolinguistics. 2., completely rev. and extended ed. Berlin, New York: de Gryuter. 296–300.

Konopka, Marek et al. (eds.) (2011): Grammatik und Korpora 2009 / Grammar & Corpora 2009. Tübingen: Narr (= Corpus Linguistics and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Language 1).

Pöll, Bernhard (2005): Le français langue pluricentrique? Frankfurt a.M.: Lang.

23.07.2013   10:30-12:30


10:30 - 11:00 Martin BUSINGER et al.
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11:00 - 11:30 Salvatore DEL GAUDIO et al.
Bilingualism in Ukraine & pluricentricity of Russian: Intralinguistic perspectives on the non-dominant variety of Ukrainian Russian
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11:30 - 12:00 Juan THOMAS
The evolution of a pluricentric language in an immigrant context: some grammatical aspects of the Spanish in a Small, Upstate NY City
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12:00 - 12:30 Elena Maria PANDOLFI
Italian as a Pluricentric Language? Lexical and morpho-syntactic variation
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23.07.2013   14:00-16:00


14:00 - 14:30 Mary Elizabeth BEATON
The Role of Lexical Frequency and Morphosyntactic Processing: First Person Plural Expression in Rio de Janeiro Portuguese
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14:30 - 15:00 Hannah WASHINGTON
Divergence in Romance Trends: Variable Object Clitic Placement in European Portuguese
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15:00 - 15:30 Scott A. SCHWENTER
Variation Analysis and Pluricentric Languages: Anaphoric Direct Objects in spoken European and Brazilian Portuguese
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23.07.2013   16:30-18:30


16:30 - 17:00 Marcos ZAMPIERI et al.
Automatic Classification of Language Varieties: What does it tell us about grammar?
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17:00 - 17:30 Joachim SCHARLOTH
Lost in Interpretation: A Critical Account of Data-driven Approaches in Grammar Research
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