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Conference Information

Full Title: Grammar of Non-Standard Varieties in the East of the Circum-Baltic Area

Location: Tartu, Estonia
Start Date: 01-Feb-2018 - 03-Feb-2018
Contact: Liina Lindström
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The conference will offer a forum for scholars interested in grammatical phenomena from understudied varieties of the Circum-Baltic area and potentially foster comparative research on border varieties across genetic boundaries in the area.

While most of the dialect studies rely on questionnaires of various kinds, it is only recently that usage-based methods have started to be applied in dialectology such as corpus-based studies on dialect syntax (cf. Szmrecsanyi & Kortmann 2009; Szmrecsanyi 2013). While not without limitations and disadvantages, corpus-based methods can hardly be overestimated in the dialectological research. Variationist linguists have become interested in dialectal grammars and the ways they interact with each other as well as with standard varieties.

The effect of these new and positive developments have been felt less for the East of the Circum-Baltic area in general. This is despite the creation of a few important corpora, such as: the morphologically annotated corpus of Estonian dialects (; the TriMCo dialectal corpus ( that will contain annotated dialect records from non-standard Latgalian, East Lithuanian, Belarusian and Russian Pskov varieties; corpus of Finnish dialects ( The overall picture is not substantially changed by the few studies from different theoretical perspectives on the grammar of Estonian dialects (Uiboaed et al. 2013; Klavan, Pilvik & Uiboaed 2015; Lindström et al., to appear), or West and North Russian (Tommola 1996; Trubinskij 1972, 1988; Požarickaja 1996; Lavine 2014; Post 2014 or Seržant 2012, 2014).

The first aim of this conference is therefore to gather researchers working on various domains of grammar of non-standard varieties of the area such as morphosyntax, syntax, semantics and function of grammatical categories.

Furthermore, the regional varieties are also more suitable for research on language contact. Though many borrowings may not only be banned from the standard, sometimes they simply do not reach the standard and persist only as regional traits in the close vicinity of the source language. Moreover, non-standard varieties are much more flexible as regards the accommodation of borrowed patterns and items. They therefore provide more natural example cases of these processes and better lend themselves to the study of mechanisms constraining pattern borrowing. It seems, therefore, that investigating language contact on the basis of non-standard varieties, especially if they are also situated close to the respective genetic borders should be more promising and lucid. The second goal of this conference is thus to approach language contact from the perspective of the regional varieties.

Invited Speakers:

Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (Leuven)
Axel Holvoet (Warsaw)
Björn Wiemer (Mainz)
Nicole Nau (Poznan)
Ruprecht von Waldenfels (Zürich), Nina Dobrushina (Moscow), Michael Daniel (Moscow)
Maria Vilkuna (Helsinki)
Riho Grünthal (Helsinki)
Fedor Rozhanskiy (Tartu/Moscow), Elena Markus (Tartu/Moscow)
Petar Kehayov (Regensburg)
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics
Subject Language Family: Finnic; East Slavic; Baltic
LL Issue: 28.746

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