UiB : HF : LLE

Indo-European Case and Argument Structure in a Typological Perspective


Workshop: Diachronic Construction Grammar

SLE-44 in Logroño, Spain, 8–11 September 2011
Workshop title: Diachronic Construction Grammar
Organizers: Jóhanna Barðdal, University of Bergen & Spike Gildea, University of Oregon

Call for papers: The theoretical framework of Construction Grammar has by now become an established framework in the international linguistic community, and a viable alternative to other formal and less formal approaches to language and linguistic structure. So far, constructional analyses have mostly been focused on synchronic, comparative and typological data, while the emergence of a diachronic construction grammar is a more recent development.

The beginning of diachronic construction grammar was marked by Israel's (1996) influential paper on the development of the way construction in the history of English. Since then, work has been done on the development of case in Germanic (Barðdal 2001, 2009), changes in periphrastic causatives in English (Hollmann 2003), future constructions in Germanic (Hilpert 2008), raising constructions in English and Dutch (Noël & Colleman 2010), the development of pragmatic particles in Czech (Fried 2007, 2009), possessive constructions in the history of Russian (Eckhoff 2009), historical variation in case marking (Berg-Olsen 2009, Barðdal 2011), as well as the rise of the there construction from Old to Early Modern English (Jenset 2010), to mention a few. Work within diachronic construction grammar has also been tuned in on how insights from the grammaticalization approach can be incorporated into the constructional framework (Traugott 2007, 2008a-b, Noël 2007, Trousdale 2008a-b, Bisang 2010) and how construction grammar aids in historical-comparative reconstruction (Gildea 1997, 1998, 2000, Haig 2008, Barðdal & Eythórsson 2009, Barðdal 2010). At the moment, the community is experiencing a boom in the amount of research being carried out within diachronic construction grammar.

More generally, a constructional approach to diachronic linguistics and language change may be focused on how new constructions arise, how competition in diachronic variation should be accounted for, how constructions fall into disuse, as well as how constructions change in general, formally and/or semantically, and the implications for the language system as a whole. Another area of focus is the value of a constructional approach to the reconstruction of morphosyntax. Further, the role of corpus data, frequency, language contact, and the interaction between item-specific and more general abstract constructions may also be important ingredients in any diachronic constructional analysis, claiming to do justice to language development and change.

This workshop is particularly focused on research where the notion of construction as a form-function pairing is needed to account for the diachronic data and development. We welcome contributions where a comparison between models is facilitated, both with regard to reconstructing grammatical change and to explaining attested grammatical change. The workshop's aim is to promote construction grammar as a viable diachronic framework alongside other linguistic frameworks dealing with language change.

Please submit your abstract through the SLE website, not later than January 15th, 2011.


  • Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2001. Case in Icelandic - A Synchronic, Diachronic and Comparative Approach . Lundastudier i Nordisk språkvetenskap A 57. Lund: Department of Scandinavian Languages, Lund.
  • Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2009. The Development of Case in Germanic. In J. Barðdal & S.L. Chelliah (eds.), The Role of Semantic, Pragmatic and Discourse Factors in the Development of Case , 123-159. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2010. Construction-Based Historical-Comparative Reconstruction. To appear in G. Trousdale & T. Hoffmann, Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2011. The Rise of Dative Substitution in the History of Icelandic: A Diachronic Construction Grammar Approach. A guest-edited volume "Semantic Aspects of Case Variation" by K.v. Heusinger & H.de Hoop. Lingua 121(1): 60-79.
  • Barðdal, Jóhanna & Thórhallur Eythórsson. 2009. Reconstructing Syntax: Construction Grammar and the Comparative Method. To appear in H.C. Boas & I.A. Sag (eds.), Sign-Based Construction Grammar . Stanford: CSLI Publications.
  • Berg-Olsen, Sturla. 2009. Lacking in Latvian: Case variation from a construction grammar perspective. In J. Barðdal & S.L. Chelliah (eds.),  The Role of Semantic, Pragmatic, and Discourse Factors in the Development of Case , 181-202. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Bisang, Walter. 2010. G rammaticalization in Chinese: A construction-based account. In E.C. Traugott & G. Trousdale (eds.), Gradience, Gradualness and Grammaticalization , 245-277. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Eckhoff, Hanne Martine. 2009. A usage-based approach to change: Old Russian possessive constructions. In J. Barðdal & S.L. Chelliah (eds.), The Role of Semantic, Pragmatic and Discourse Factors in the Development of Case , 161-180. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fried, Mirjam. 2007. A Frame Semantic account of morphosemantic change: the case of Old Czech verící . In D. Divjak & A. Kochanska (eds.), Cognitive Paths into the Slavic Domain, 283-315. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Fried, Mirjam. 2009. Construction Grammar as a tool for diachronic analysis. Constructions and Frames 1(2): 261-290.
  • Gildea, Spike. 1997. Evolution of grammatical relations in Cariban: How functional motivation precedes syntactic change. In T. Givón (ed.), Grammatical Relations: A Functionalist Perspective , 155-198. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Gildea, Spike (ed.). 1998. On reconstructing grammar: Comparative Cariban morphosyntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gildea, Spike. 2000. On the genesis of the verb phrase in Cariban languages: Diversity through reanalysis. In S. Gildea (ed.), Reconstructing Grammar: Comparative Linguistics and Grammaticalization Theory, 65-105. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Haig, Geoffrey. 2008. Alignment Change in Iranian Languages: A Construction Grammar Approach. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Hilbert, Martin. 2008. Germanic Future Constructions: A Usage-based Approach to Language Change. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Hollmann, Willem B. 2003. Synchrony and diachrony of English periphrastic causatives: a cognitive perspective. Ph.D. dissertation. Manchester: University of Manchester.
  • Israel, Michael. 1996. The way constructions grow. In A.E. Goldberg (ed.), Conceptual structure, discourse and language , 217-230. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
  • Jenset, Gard. 2010. A Corpus-Based Study on the Evolution of 'There': Statistical Analysis and Cognitive Interpretation. Ph.D. dissertation. Bergen: University of Bergen.
  • Noël, Dirk. 2007. Diachronic construction grammar and grammaticalization theory. Functions of Language 14(2): 177-202.
  • Noël, Dirk & Timothy Colleman. 2010. Believe-type raising-to-object and raising-to-subject verbs in English and Dutch: A contrastive investigation in diachronic construction grammar. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 15(2): 157-182.
  • Trousdale, Graeme. 2008a. Constructions in grammaticalization and lexicalization: Evidence from the history of a composite predicate in English. In G. Trousdale & N. Gisborne (eds.), Constructional approaches to English grammar, 33-67. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Trousdale, Graeme. 2008b. A constructional account of lexicalization processes in the history of English: Evidence from possessive constructions. Word Structure 1: 156-177.
  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2007. The concepts of constructional mismatch and type-shifting from the perspective of grammaticalization. Cognitive Linguistics 18: 523-557.
  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2008a. The grammaticalization of NP of NP constructions. In A. Bergs & G. Diewald (eds.), Constructions and Language Change, 21-43. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2008b. 'All that he endeavoured to prove was ...': On the emergence of grammatical constructions in dialogic contexts. In R. Cooper & R. Kempson (eds.), 143-177. Language in Flux: Dialogue Coordination, Language Variation, Change and Evolution. London: Kings College Publications.










Jóhanna Barðdal, Principal Investigator
Dept. of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, UiB
Box 7805
NO-5020 Bergen
Phone +47-55 58 24 38
Fax +47-55 58 96 60
johanna.barddal at uib.no

    Updated January 11, 2011 by JB