Discovering Linguistics — Linguistic Discoveries

A journey to/from Linguaglossa (‘tongue-tongue’/’language-language’)



Since the academic year of 2022/23, we have changed the way DLLD works. Instead of three different lecturers per semester, we now invite one lecturer per semester to give three lectures (two online, one on campus) on different aspects of their work. The focus is on the journey they take to find what they’re searching.

All lectures take place at 19:30 (CET).


Semester 1 2023/24 (In Dutch!)

Joachim Kokkelmans (Bozen/Bolzano): Fonetisch-fonologische variatie: van geluidsopnames tot universele typologieën

In deze lezingenreeks wordt er ingegaan op vragen over de taalvariatie op het gebied van de fonetiek en de fonologie: hoe kan men variatie in de uitspraak van individuen meten, daarmee generalisaties formuleren over het fonetisch-fonologische systeem van een bepaalde taal en zo de variatie in de talen van de wereld verstaan en verklaren? Waar houdt mogelijke taalvariatie op, dwz. waar ligt de grens tussen taalsystemen die mogelijks zouden kunnen bestaan en onmogelijke taalsystemen? Er wordt aangetoond hoe men aan de hand van geluidsopnames een fonetisch onderzoek opbouwt, hoe taalkundige theorieën fonetisch detail en fonologische categorieën met elkaar verbinden en hoe ze de variatie op het vlak van de fonologie modelleren om te voorspellen welke talen al dan niet mogelijk zijn.


Semester 2 2023/24

Metin Bağrıaçık (Boğaziçi): When two tongues meet: linguistic investigation of contact situations

Languages are not spoken in a vacuum, and as far as we can trace them back in the history, they have always been in interaction with their distant or close kin across all possible borders, whether these borders are geographical, in minds or among societies. In this lecture series, we will delve into the study of this interaction, language contact that is, with an emphasis on case studies in Asia Minor. We will look at how we can identify contact-induced phenomena, what mechanisms lead to these phenomena, and what factors constrain the possible contact space.



Sneak preview: In 2024/25, Pritty Patel-Grosz and Silvio Cruschina will share their journeys to linguistic discovery with us at DLLD!



Programme 2022/23

Semester 1: Marieke Meelen (Cambridge): How to do historical linguistics with scarce data

In this lecture series we’ll dive into the challenges of diachronic linguistic research and how to address and overcome them. The first two lectures will be online through zoom and focus on methodology: how to annotate historical data and how to get more data to fill the gaps in transmission. In the third session, which will be in-person, we’ll look at how the presented methods can help us answer research questions about language variation and change.

Semester 2: Oliver Niebuhr (SDU Sønderborg, Denmark): The charisma journey

As a phonetics student, I was constantly asked two things: (1) What is that? And (2) what can you do with it later in life? Do you know that, too? Then you are exactly right in my lecture series. Well, you should roughly know the answer to question (1) in advance to participate. But then, based on that, we will together discover a series of answers to question (2). Some answers are more informative and conceptual in nature, as in the first lecture; Some are more application-oriented and go far beyond phonetics itself, as in the second lecture; and some you can experience interactively yourself, as in the third lecture. I look forward to your participation.


Programme 2021/22

30-09-2021 Emiliana Cruz (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), Mexico City): “Hiking to Document the Wisdom, Knowledge, and Memories of the Elders of San Juan Quiahije: An Interdisciplinary and Pedagogical Approach

20-10-2021 Ashwini Deo (Ohio State University): “The emergence of split-oblique case systems: a view from the Bhili dialect continuum (Indo-Aryan)”

22-11-2021 Sali A. Tagliamonte (University of Toronto): “Mining for linguistic gold: The Ontario Dialects Project”

21-02-2022 Tamsin Blaxter (University of Cambridge): “What maps can tell us about grammar: enriching historical linguistics with evidence from geolinguistics and sociolinguistics”

21-03-2022 David Willis (Oxford): “Tweetolectology: Linguistic variation from Port Talbot to Port-au-Prince (via Portsmouth)”

09-05-2022 Diego Pescarini (CNRS): ‘Negation marking in central Romance: reviving some late 19th and early 20th century data’


Programme 2020/21

05-10-2020 Mathieu Avanzi (Paris VII): “Mapping dialectal variation”

19-10-2020 Artemis Alexiadou (HU Berlin): “Linguistic changes in heritage grammars”

23-11-2020 George Walkden (U Konstanz): “Can we predict future language changes?”

14-12-2020 Ailis Cournane (NYU): Modal verbs in language development and language change

08-02-2021 Roberta D’Alessandro (U Utrecht): “What microcontact tells us about language”

22-04-2021 Nino Grillo (U of York): “Local and Universal: On the interaction of universal parsing principles and grammatical variation.”

10-05-2021 Hae-Sung Jeon (U Central Lancashire): ‘Intonation: From Phonetics to Meaning’ 


Programme 2019/20

03-10-2019 Pritty Patel-Grosz (Oslo): Explorations in the semantics of dance [CANCELLED]

07-11-2019 W. Tecumseh Fitch (Vienna): The Evolution of the Neural Basis for Language: A Comparative Perspective

12-12-2019 Stefan Rabanus (Verona): Possessive constructions in Cimbrian: contact-induced or autonomous morphosyntactic change?

02-03-2020 Ianthi M. Tsimpli (Cambridge): Linguistic Complexity in Bilingual Children’s Grammars

30-03-2020 Chiara Gianollo (Bologna): Simply not? How negation is strengthened in discourse, and which effects this may have over time

29-04-2020 Ingo Feldhausen (Frankfurt): Focus, prosody, and word order: How new information is encoded in language and how one can investigate focus experimentally


Programme 2018/19

03-10-2018 Tjerk Hagemeijer (Lisbon): The formation of the Gulf of Guinea creoles: between languages, genes, and history

23-10-2018 Gerardo Mazzaferro (Turin): Researching (post)multilingualism: Translanguaging practices in an emergent superdiverse city, Turin (Italy)

03-12-2018 Beáta Megyesi (Uppsala): Decoding secret writings from the past – CANCELLED

25-02-2019 Daniel Gutzmann (Cologne): I lost my damn watch! The grammar of expressive adjectives. – CANCELLED

14-03-2019 Peter Alexander Kerkhof (Leiden): How bilingual Belgians reshaped the French language: Germanic-Romance language contact and Pippinid prestige

02-04-2019 Lutz Marten (SOAS London): Universality and variation in language: Comparing East African Bantu languages in the context of the world’s linguistic diversity

15-05-2019 Marjo van Koppen (Utrecht): Negation in the letters of P.C. Hooft: combining literary studies and linguistics


Programme 2017/18

26-10-2017   Roland Pfau (Amsterdam): Sign Language Negation: From Gesture to Grammar

30-11-2017   Maria Garraffa (Heriot Watts, Edinburgh): Mechanisms of language learning in children with developmental language disorder

04-12-2017   Beáta Megyesi (Uppsala): Decoding secret writings from the past  – CANCELLED; moved to 3-12-2018!

19-03-2018   David Britain (Bern): Discovering dialect with mobile phone apps

26-04-2018   Gea de Jong-Lendle (Marburg): Forensic phonetics: Language identification from a foreign accent in German – Where does the kidnapper come from?

09-05-2018   Giuditta Caliendo (Lille): Legitimacy and Identity in the Time of Crisis: a discursive perspective on European integration


Programme 2016/17

18-10-2016     Birgit A. Ramussen (Copenhagen): Tracing the Indo-Europeans – their language and culture

07-11-2016    Tamara Rathcke (Kent): On the power of rhythm in language and music

14-12-2016    Francis Nolan (Cambridge): Intonation analysis: the ‘British’ school and the emergence of a phonology of intonation

23-03-2017     Ielka van der Sluis (Groningen): The use and effectiveness of multimodal instructions

27-04-2017     James Clackson (Cambridge): Ancient Etruscan – deciphering an unknown language

08-05-2017     Rob Truswell (Edinburgh): Bonobos, children, and fear of trees


Programme 2015/16

08-10-2015     Andrew Nevins (University College London): Tooth and Throat Singing: Mondegreens and the Decoding of Sound Structure

26-10-2015    Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh): Linguistic change in the North Atlantic: Investigating modern Faroese

07-12-2015     Marc van Oostendorp (Universiteit Leiden): Frans klinkt als een machinegeweer, Nederlands als morsecode

09-03-2016     Klaus Abels (University College London): What word order typology reveals about universal cognitive biases

25-04-2016     Ioanna Sitaridou (University of Cambridge): Continuity, Contact and Change: The Greek varieties (Romeyka) in Turkey today

03-05-2016     Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh): Bilingualism across the lifespan: language and general cognition