Thematic Seminar 2016

New Ways of Analyzing Syntactic Variation 2

Ghent University,  19-20 may 2016

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The GLIMS and EQTIS research units at Ghent University will host a two-day international symposium on new advances in research on syntactic variation on 19-20 May 2016. The event is a follow-up to the first New Ways of Analyzing Syntactic Variation symposium that took place at the Radboud University Nijmegen in November 2012. Its overall purpose is to stimulate discussion and interaction between researchers bringing new theoretical and/or methodological expertise to the linguistic study of syntactic variation, broadly construed.

Syntactic variation is a multidimensional concept: it can refer to the existence (in a single language variety) of several syntactic patterns or constructions “competing” for the same functional space (i.e, to grammatical alternations), or to any kind of sociolinguistic or “lectal” variation in the formal and/or functional properties of syntactic patterns, along regional, social, diachronic, stylistic, ethnic, gender, etc. dimensions (i.e., to syntactic patterns or constructions as sociolinguistic variables), or to a combination of both.

Syntactic variation is a major area of research in different schools of linguistics – including, but not limited to, construction grammar and related usage-based approaches, generative grammar, variationist sociolinguistics (cf. the advent of socio-syntax), psycholinguistics, language acquisition research, and computational linguistics/NLP – and has accordingly been approached from quite divergent theoretical and methodological perspectives. A common trend in all of these approaches is the increasing use of advanced methods and toolsfor the compilation and analysis of empirical data. In addition, there is a growing consensus that linguistic argumentation demands converging evidence based on an interdisciplinary approach and a growing body of work hence combines multiple empirical approaches to tackle one and the same linguistic phenomenon (e.g. combining advanced corpus analyses with survey and psycholinguistic experimental designs).

NWASV2 offers a forum for original work on syntactic variation, in any language or (present or historical) language variety – or varieties, for that matter – and from any theoretical perspective, in which an awareness of recent theoretical insights and advances is paired with a concern for appropriate empirical validation, methodological innovation and interdisciplinarity.