08 December 2021

Seminar Alexander Martin


Alexander Martin

(Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle, Université de Paris)

Wednesday 8 December 2021

3.00-4.00 p.m. LPL, conference room B011

Studying constraints on language change: a synchronic approach



Languages evolve under a large swath of different pressures, but biases in the ways languages are learned and transmitted can explain why certain patterns are so recurrent cross-linguistically.  In this talk, I will present experimental evidence attempting to shed light on the underpinnings of a couple of cross-linguistic regularities.  Specifically, I will review a project on learning biases favouring phonetically-motivated (aka “natural”) rules, focussing on the typologically frequent rule of vowel harmony compared to the formally similar but unattested rule of vowel disharmony (Martin & Peperkamp, 2020; Martin & White, 2021).  I will then discuss the so-called suffixing preference and show evidence that typological regularities may not always find their basis in cognitive constraints (Martin & Culbertson, 2020).  I will then turn to a project looking at the link between individual-level perception and production in language contact by considering the emergence of the phoneme /g/ in European Dutch (Martin et al., in revision) and propose how the methodology used in that project can be expanded to study the time course of contact-induced change.  I will briefly sum up by proposing a dual approach to the study of mechanisms underlying language change that considers biases situated both in the individual and in interaction.


08 December 2021, 15h0016h00
LPL, conference room B011

Next events