Update: Due to the coronavirus, the conference has been rescheduled to Jan. 20-21, 2021 and will take place online on Zoom in an adapted format. Please register here.

Photography: Amiram Oren


Language Change: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives is an interdisciplinary conference taking place at the Mt. Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on 24-26 March 2020, joining the concluding conference of the following projects/events:

Emergence of Modern Hebrew (EMODHEBREW) The concluding event of the ERC funded research project founded by the late Prof. Edit Doron.

The Emergence of Modern Hebrew (EMODHEBREW) is an ERC-funded research project that documents the development of the grammar of Modern Hebrew, in particular its syntax. Hebrew presents a unique phenomenon of a language which for generations was only used for literary purposes (mostly liturgical, scholarly, and legal literature) becoming a language spoken again for everyday use. Though the dramatic historical circumstances of this revival have been described, the linguistic process itself is not yet understood. The present project is an attempt to systematically study the linguistic aspect of the process. We construct a linguistic data-base for the documentation of the novel syntactic constructions of Modern Hebrew, their sources in previous stages of Hebrew and in the languages with which Modern Hebrew was in contact at the time of the revival, and the development of these constructions since the beginning of the revival until present time. The data-base is made available on this website for other linguists to use and to contribute to. Visit the project website

Historical Linguistics and Formal Semantics The concluding conference of the Mandel Scholion research group on Historical Linguistics and Formal Semantics

The research group sets out to better our understanding of natural language by combining two areas of linguistic research that have not been integrated so far: historical linguistics, the study of how and why languages change over time, and formal semantics, the study of linguistic meaning. These two subfields have developed from remote intellectual disciplines, the former from the philological world, and the latter from mathematical logic. Rooted in such different backgrounds, these two subfields of linguistics do not naturally converge in terms of their goals, methodologies, and research questions. These subfields of linguistics have drawn closer in the second half of the 20th century in the study of semantic change in grammaticalization, i.e., the complex process through which grammatical meanings develop from lexical meanings. Despite these endeavors semantic change is still poorly understood, primarily due to three factors: (1) a lack of in depth case studies from a wide range of languages; (2) a lack of an explicit theory of semantics underlying claims about semantic change; and (3) a poor understanding of the relationship between semantics, pragmatics, and syntax in language change.

This research group sets out to create a research paradigm that will fill this gap.  The group jointly explore in a systematic manner how studies in historical linguistics and in semantics can contribute to one another, in an attempt to draw conclusions about the properties of a variety of semantic categories (e.g. negation, temporality, modality), their universality, and the mechanisms underlying recurring shifts in meanings over time, or paths of semantic change, within these categories.

The program of the conference includes in addition papers which concentrate on the interfaces between historical linguistics and adjacent fields.

This is also the 5th edition of the annual conference on Formal Diachronic Semantics (FoDS5). See call for papers.

Previous FoDS

2019Ohio State University (USA)https://u.osu.edu/fods4/
2018University of Oslo (Norway)http://folk.uio.no/daghaug/fods/
2017Saarland University (Germany)http://fods2.uni-saarland.de/
2016University of Konstanz (Germany) https://cms.uni-konstanz.de/fileadmin/archive/eckardt/eckardt/workshop/index.html

Contact address: languagechangejerusalem@gmail.com

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