skip to main content

Microvariation in language change

Although languages tend to change according to similar patterns, they do not necessarily change at the same speed. This observation raises one of the most fundamental questions in linguistics: what triggers language change? Language change has been shown to result from grammatical properties of the language (Internal Triggers) as well as from the socio-cultural contexts the language is used in (External Triggers). However, the exact way in which grammar and social context interact in language change is far from clear.
This project aims to systematically investigate this interaction to obtain a comprehensive picture of how language change is triggered. It will do so by an innovative, interdisciplinary approach, combining insights from three linguistic disciplines studying language change from different perspectives: formal linguistics (taking a grammatical perspective on language change), sociolinguistics (taking a social-cultural perspective on language change) and computational linguistics (abstractly modeling language change).

Researchers: Gertjan Postma, Marjo van Koppen, Marc van Oostendorp, Hans Broekhuis