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SEMINAR: Linguistics Seminar

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Today's date is Saturday, September 19, 2020
Linguistics Seminar : Unbalanced comparative patterns in historical linguistics: implications for reconstrution and explanatory mechanisms for their development Other events...
Linguistic lineages are reconstructed on the basis of comparative linguistic patterns assumed to reflect the social process of language transmission over time. In this seminar I introduce the notion of balance as a central element in the interpretation of such patterns.

I argue that the idealised, comparative pattern associated with genetic relationship is balanced, and therefore that the more unbalanced a comparative pattern is found to be, the less consistent it is with the type of history that can be modelled as a lineage. Imbalance is instead the expected linguistic signature of a significant history of contact.

I go on to argue that in order to interpret unbalanced comparative patterns it is therefore crucial to consider the possible effect of bilingual processing biases which can, over time, give rise to transmission biases, so that eventually it will be possible to better evaluate different historical explanations for a particular pattern e.g. is unbalanced pattern A best explained from a starting point of common ancestry plus a transmission bias B, or from a starting point of no common ancestry plus an alternative transmission bias C? I end by presenting research which makes a significant contribution towards this goal.
Speaker(s) Luisa Miceli
Location SSCI:2.63 Seminar Room
Contact Maia Ponsonnet <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 07 Sep 2018 11:00
End Fri, 07 Sep 2018 12:30
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Thu, 06 Sep 2018 09:04
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