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From:Jay Bowks <jjbowks@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 13, 1999, 2:27
Passing this along as well on the 45th Annual Conference of the
International Linguistic Association... Bob P. should really look into this
one :-)))

(Also cross-posted to OPTIMAL and LINGUIST; apologies if you receive
multiple copies of this message.)
Jay B.
>A special session to be held at the 45th Annual Conference of the >International Linguistic Association > >April 7-9, 2000, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. > >The 45th ILA conference has as its major theme Language
Contact/Language Change, and abstracts are solicited for a session on the application of Optimality Theory to language change.
> >Background: >Beginning shortly after the circulation of the earliest manuscripts
in Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993, McCarthy and Prince 1993), various researchers began to investigate the application of OT to language change. Historical issues investigated in English, Slavic, a number of Romance languages and others have included the development of syllable structure, metrical structure, syncope and epenthesis, simplification of consonant clusters, changes in vowel and consonant length, diphthongization, Finnish leveling, and many others, including syntactic changes. Approaches have appealed to a variety of theoretical mechanisms, including lexicon optimization, re-ranking or partial ranking of constraints on markedness, faithfulness, alignment, sonority and others. Additionally, the role of perception and reinterpretation by the listener has been addressed in some of these works, as has the relationship between historical change and the first language acquisition of constraint rankings in the grammar of children and speakers of newer generations.
> >Existing historical OT analyses, though they frequently
rely heavily on traditional argumentation to sustain them, are often innovative and have often allowed for the establishment of a relation between the changes discussed in these works that could not or had not satisfactorily been seen as interrelated previously. Additionally, the application of Optimality Theory to the explanation of historical sound change arguably provides us with a firmer base for understanding the given phenomena analyzed, and suggests that this is an area for further fruitful investigation. Further, results from these studies also are beginning to inform synchronic OT analyses and help to shape our understanding of language more generally.
> >However, to date there has been no gathering dedicated
to bringing researchers in this area together to share their work and discuss it as primary issue, rather than as part of a larger more general meeting. This session solicits abstracts related to the analysis of some issue related to historical linguistics and/or to the application of OT to language change from a more general perspective.
> >Submission Requirements: >The 45th ILA conference will have as its major theme
Language Contact/Language Change. While papers on that theme are especially welcomed, abstracts on any subject in theoretical and applied linguistics are also solicited. Invited speakers: Lila Gleitman, University of Pennsylvania and Lesley Milroy and Sarah Thomason, both of the University of Michigan. Local host: Father Solomon Sara.
> >Single-spaced abstracts, bearing the title of the paper
(but no author), of not more than 425 words should clearly state the problems or research questions addressed, and should give some indication of results or conclusions. Send via e-mail to the Session organizer (see below). Simultaneously, send via airmail 3 camera-ready hard copies of the abstract, plus a 3x5 card bearing name, title of paper, addresses, affiliation, and audio-visual equipment needed. (Anonymity will be preserved when abstracts are forwarded to the judges.) Presentations will be 20 minutes (plus discussion). Submissions on diskette will not be accepted.
> >Deadline for submission of abstracts for the special
session on OT: January 7, 2000.
> >Any questions regarding the conference itself may
be addressed to either the Conference Chair, Ruth Brend ( or the Conference Secretary Johanna Woltjer ( Abstracts designed for this panel will be judged by the general conference committee, who will send direct notification regarding acceptance.
> >Send e-mail and hard copies of abstracts and 3x5
information card to:
> >D. Eric Holt >Organizer, ILA session on OT and language change >Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese & >Program in Linguistics >University of South Carolina >Columbia, SC 29208 > > >[Please send abstracts in one of the following formats,
listed in descending order of preference: Word97, RTF, WordPerfect, PDF, or as text in the body of an e-mail message.]