The Evolution of Morphological Systems

A workshop at Evolang XIII, Brussels, 14th April 2020

The evolution of grammatical morphology – from tense markers, to agreement paradigms, to gender systems – has deep roots in the field of language evolution. Research into grammaticalization processes and the development of pidgins, creoles and emerging sign languages provide real-world insights into how languages develop complex morphology; these observations have inspired a rich body of recent work, using cutting-edge experimental, computational and corpus methods to investigate ​how​ complex morphological systems evolve, and ​why​ they look the way they do. This workshop will highlight state-of the-art research on the evolution of morphological systems, covering the role of learning and communication in shaping morphology, how specific morphological systems might arise under different conditions, and the extent to which the pressures driving morphological evolution are shared across modalities, domains, and species.


The workshop will feature three invited talks. Our invited speakers are:

Greville Corbett (University of Surrey)

Sabine Stoll (University of Zürich)

Farrell Ackerman (UCSD) & Rob Malouf (San Diego State University)


If you would like to be considered for a contributed talk at the workshop, please submit an abstract to Abstracts should be formatted as per Evolang abstracts, i.e. maximum of two pages using the templates provided.

The deadline for abstract submissions to the workshop is 15th December 2019.

Submissions will be reviewed by the organisers, and will be evaluated with an emphasis on novel methodological and/or theoretical contributions. Notifications will be sent at the end of January, 2020




TBC – the workshop will be co-located with Evolang XIII in Brussels.


The workshop will feature 3 invited talks and 4 30-minute contributed talks.


The workshop is organised by Jennifer Culbertson and Kenny Smith. Any questions, please email


The workshop has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement 757643, held by Jennifer Culbertson, and grant agreement 681942, held by Kenny Smith).