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.


Programme

The workshop will feature 6 talks.

Ackerman & Malouf, Title TBC.

Corbett, Fedden, Franjieh, Grandison & Round, Categorization: combining canonical typology, evolution and psycholinguistics.

Di Garbo & Verkerk, Animacy and the evolution of gender agreement systems: A study of North-Western Bantu.

Mollica & Kemp, A fitness function for grammaticalization.

Schuler & Chen, Morphosyntactic variation is preserved, not regularized, when an optional form is rare

Stoll, There are common underlying structures in human language that allow children to learn any language: input universals and first language acquisition.


Registration

TBC


Venue

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


Programme

The workshop will feature 6 talks.

Corbett, Title TBC.

Stoll, Title TBC.

Ackerman & Malouf, Title TBC.

Di Garbo & Verkerk, Animacy and the evolution of gender agreement systems: A study of North-Western Bantu.

Mollica & Kemp, A fitness function for grammaticalization.

Schuler & Chen, Morphosyntactic variation is preserved, not regularized, when an optional form is rare


Contact

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


FUNDING

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).