Comparative and dialectal approaches to inflectional analogy
Event organised by:
Dr. Xavier Bach, Departmental Lecturer in French Linguistics, Christ Church College & Faculty of Mediaeval and Modern Languages & Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics, University of Oxford.
Dr. Louise Esher, Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, University of Oxford. Research Fellow in Linguistics, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (LLACAN UMR 8135).
Prof. Dr. Sascha Gaglia. Professor of Romance Linguistics, Department of Romance Philology, Freie Universität Berlin.
The workshop showcases and brings together specialists with interests in inflectional morphology, historical linguistics and dialectology, in order to explore the detail of analogical processes through the specific prism of attested dialectal variation and to examine the contributions of the participants’ approaches.
Inflectional analogy is a type of pattern-based language change in which relationships of similarity and contrast between wordforms are transferred into additional clusters of wordforms (e.g. English dive-dove on the model of drive-drove, replacing dive-dived; Blevins & Blevins 2009:6). Because analogy is an essentially relational process in which language users may perceive patterns holding between many tens of grammatical forms for a single lexical word, or many hundreds of individual lexical words, the potential models, routes and outcomes of analogical change are numerous, rendering principled investigation of contributing factors complex. In complement to theoretical approaches which increasingly harness computational power to simulate inflectional systems (e.g. Albright 2009, Sims & Parker 2020), recent work by the applicants (e.g. Gaglia 2020, Esher 2021a,b, Bach ms.) highlights the value of fine-grained analysis of historical documents and of comparative dialect data in providing significant empirical insights into the directionality of analogical change, both in terms of lexical progression (from one word to another) and of paradigmatic progression (from one paradigm cell, tense, person, etc. to another) including arbitrary distributional patterns such as so-called morphomes (e.g. Maiden 2003, 2018); in turn, robustly established directionality provides a firm foundation for developing and investigating hypotheses around the factors which motivate and constrain analogy.