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Axe 3: Typology and dynamics of linguistic systems

coordinator: Anaïd Donabedian (SEDYL - INALCO)
co-coordinator: Isabelle Bril (LACITO - CNRS)
co-coordinator: Mark Van de Velde (LLACAN - CNRS)

The recent development of typological databases, as carried out at the Max-Planck-Institutes in Nijmegen and Leipzig, has made it possible to use quantitative methods to test classification or reconstruction hypotheses. The goal of this strand is to describe and model language diversity as dynamic systems. The major issue is to find a balance between qualitative and quantitative approaches and to integrate historical, regional and social variation, as well as discourse factors. The research is pursued in close collaboration with strands 1 (Phonetic and phonological complexity), 2 (Experimental grammar from a cross-linguistic perspective), 4 (Language representation and processing in a lifespan perspective) and 6 (Language resources). The research teams involved have first hand expertise in over 150 languages spoken all over the world. The various research projects share the following methodology:

  • fieldwork methods for data collection including task-oriented data collection for semi-spontaneous oriented speech and instrumental phonetic data collection.
  • processing and archiving oral data using international standards (cf. DoBeS, ELDP) as the LACITO archives with CRDO/Adonis.
  • using (lexical and morphological) databases for statistical studies (to test language universals and genetic classifications of languages) which can be visualized with cartographic systems.

This strand gathers over 60 faculty members and researchers, as well as 15 PhD students, from 10 partner teams. It is involved in numerous international collaborations. During the 10 years, we are going to launch new annotation initiatives for several language corpora in collaboration with Strand 6.

Our work is organized into three substrands with a total of 9 work packages.

  • substrand RT: “Diachronic change, phyla and reconstruction models”
  • substrand LC: “Modelling language contact and linguistic areas”
  • substrand GD “Grammar and discourse: modelling interfaces”