Cognitive linguistics seminar
Speaker: Nik Gisborne (University of Edinburgh)
Title: Some questions for contact theory
Abstract: This talk is being prepared for a memorial event for Professor Peter Matthews, who was the first Professor of Linguistics at the University of Cambridge. Peter was famous for his work on inflectional morphology and syntax, and more lately the history of linguistics. He was not famous for his work on language contact. However, the memorial event is centred around an unfinished book manuscript called How languages can converge through contact. The main question is one for diachronic typology: how do areal phenomena emerge, especially in languages which don’t share an ancestor.
In this talk, I discuss some of the key concerns and ideas in Peter’s manuscript and address issues in diachronic typology which I have worked on, particularly to do with how headed relative clauses with wh pro-forms have emerged in Hungarian, a unrelated language whose ancestors did not have the relevant features.
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