Call for papers

Workshop at the Department of Comparative Linguistics, University of Zurich on 15th–17th May 2017

Call for papers

Linguistic typologists and cognitive (neuro-)scientists alike have advocated the potential of language processing (encompassing language production, comprehension and acquisition) to explain the distribution of grammatical structures across time and space. Discussions focus on how the diverse grammatical structures of the world’s languages may constrain and inform theorizing on language processing and language acquisition and on how grammars might adapt to (neurobiological) processing constraints.

Unfortunately, and in spite of this glaring coincidence of interests, little scientific interaction between these fields has occurred. During this three-day workshop at the University of Zurich (May 15–17, 2017), we will be working towards overcoming this divide. In six keynote talks, leading scholars from linguistics and psycho- and neurolinguistics will lay out their view on the interfaces between linguistic diversity and processing and how these synergies could be exploited.

The keynote speakers are:
Aylin Küntay (Koç University)
Caleb Everett (University of Miami)
T. Florian Jaeger (University of Rochester)
Nikolaus P. Himmelmann (University of Cologne)
Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewesky (University of South Australia)
Silvia Gennari (University of York)

We invite contributions for 30-minute talks (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion) on the interface of linguistic typology and processing research. Specifically, we invite contributions presenting new evidence on (a) whether and how languages’ grammars might adapt to (neurobiological) constraints on cognitive processing architectures and external pressures or (b) whether and how the different grammatical properties of linguistic systems might afford the application of different processing and learning strategies.

Example topics are:

  • studies examining production, comprehension, or acquisition phenomena in one or more language(s) chosen for their typological characteristics
  • experimental studies on under-researched languages providing implications for existing processing theories
  • studies providing (neurobiological) processing explanations of language change phenomena
  • studies linking processing mechanisms and typological distributions

Abstracts should be submitted online via EasyChair as PDFs, no later than 10th  March 2017, and should not exceed 500 words (excluding references and figures). The abstracts will be reviewed by the program committee (Damian E. Blasi, Sebastian Sauppe, Sabine Stoll, Balthasar Bickel, Martin Meyer) and decisions will be communicated before 1st April 2017.

Attendance will be free and child care during the workshop hours will be available upon request for a limited number of participants.