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  Home > Conferences > Linguistic Areas

Workshop ‘Linguistic Areas’


30 September 2011
Maison de la Recherche de Paris 3 (room Claude Simon),
4 Rue des Irlandais, 75005 Paris, M° Luxembourg
Organizers: E. Adamou (Lacito), Yaron Matras (U. of Manchester) & C. Taine-Cheikh (Lacito)


The expression "linguistic league" proposed by Troubetzkoy (1928), largely cited in its German version Sprachbund, drew attention to the fact that unrelated languages could converge at the level of their structures following intense contact. Weinreich (1958) proposed the expression "convergence area" which, similarly to "linguistic area", focuses on the geographical dimension of the phenomenon.

The goal of this workshop is to examine more or less established linguistic areas by looking at the definitions (based on the number of languages, number and type of shared features) as well as the methodology used to identify a Sprachbund (cf. Thomason & Kaufman 1988, Thomason 2001, Matras 2009).

We will examine several issues raised within the well-developed studies of the Balkan area, and the more recent studies on South-East Asia and Africa. We will also explore the interest of this concept when applied to less known areas such as the Red Sea, and the Saharan area.

MATRAS Yaron, 2009, Language Contact, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
THOMASON Sarah & KAUFMAN Terrence, 1988, Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics, Berkeley, University of California Press.
THOMASON Sarah, 2001, Linguistic areas and language history, Haspelmath M., Koenig E., Oesterreicher W., Raible W. (eds.), Language typology and language universals, Sprachtypologie und sprachliche Universalien: An international handbook, Berlin & New York, Walter de Gruyter.
TROUBETZKOY Nicolay, 1928, Actes du 1er congrès international des linguistes, La Haye.
WEINREICH Uriel, 1968 (6th éd), Languages in Contact, The Hague, Mouton.




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