Traditionally, grammatical representations are analyzed in terms of a few primitive categories and combinatorial rules that are (largely) independent of usage and development; but there is now a large body of research arguing that linguistic structure is emergent and that grammar should be analyzed as a dynamic system consisting of fluid categories and flexible constraints that are shaped by general cognitive processes.
It is the purpose of this workshop to explore the mechanisms that ‘drive’ the emergence of linguistic structure in the process of diachronic language change. Grammatical phenomena to be investigated include (for instance) the emergence of grammatical markers and constructions, the development of morphological paradigms and syntactic categories, the interaction between lexemes and constructions over time, and change of word order. We will explore these phenomena in light of general cognitive processes such as conceptualization (i.e. the cognitive structuring of experience and the way this affects semantically driven grammatical change), analogy and structural priming (i.e. the mapping of relations across categories and construction and its effect on the development of linguistic paradigms), automatization and chunking (i.e. the rise of linguistic sequences and the weakening or loss of linguistic structure), the flow of consciousness (i.e. the constantly moving focus of attention in the unfolding speech stream and the consequences this has for the organization and development of linguistic units) and, of course, social interaction (i.e. cognitive processes that concern the coordination of the language users’ shared knowledge and the way this influences the ‘packaging’ of information in language use and language development).
University of Brussels
University of Pavia
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
University of Neuchatel
Sony Computer Science Laboratory, Paris
van de Velde
University of Leuven