Strand 2 : Experimental grammar in a cross-linguistic perspective (16 WP) (Leader : Anne Abeillé, LLF, Université de Paris; co-leader : Tatiana Nikitina, Llacan, Inalco)

Strand 2 Presentation (2020-2024)

The general goal of this strand is to generalize the use of quantitative and experimental methods in the study of all types of grammatical phenomena in a wide array of written and spoken languages.

More specifically, we aim to:

-Evaluate existing experimental designs for the study of morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, and to devise new designs where necessary,
-Contribute to the construction of specific digital resources for the study of under-equipped languages.
-Evaluate the relevance of various quantitative methods to the study of different types of linguistic data, and devise new methods where necessary
– Apply those methods to typologically diverse languages (depending on the availability of experimental subjects/of written or spoken corpora)

Some of the main challenges are to:

  • bridge the gap between the field and the lab (experimental data and ecological data)
  • bridge the gap between theories conceived for a handfull of languages and the diversity of languages documented in large databases (WALS…)
  • integrate language variation and change in theoretical linguistics
  • use big data with machine learning techniques (for example for lexical semantics)

Strand 2 is devoted to the study of morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and their interfaces. In this project, we include prosody, social variation, and epistemology, with 6 new workpackages.

The 13 planned workpackages will be devoted to quantitative and experimental morphology (the competition among suffixes in derivations, contact induced morphosyntactic change), quantitative and experimental syntax (Word ordering in the diachrony of French, Ellipsis and fragments, Relative clauses and related constructions, Marked constructions and Information structure, Social Meaning and Syntactic Variation, Implementing a large scale grammar for French), quantitative and experimental semantics (Grammatical gender across languages, Plurality and quantification), quantitative and experimental pragmatics (the role of Prosody in sentence comprehension, Dialog) and the history of experimental linguistics.

Some of the forthcoming challenges are the inclusion of sign languages and gestures, the use of neurolinguistics methods, the design of psycholinguistic experiments for endangered spoken languages (field work), and the use of machine learning techniques for the study of various languages with very large corpora (big data).

The research program in this strand will conducted by about 80 faculty and researchers, from all partner teams, including individual members, specialized in linguistics, computational linguistics, and psycholinguistics, with numerous national and international collaborations.


Strand 2 Operations (2020-2024)

  1. Experimental and quantitative Morphology
  • The many to many nature of lexeme formation (resp. L Barque, U. Paris 13)
  • Contact-induced morphosyntactic change (resp R. Meyer, C. Reintges, CNRS) (collaboration between strand 2 and strand 3)
  1. Experimental and quantitative syntax
  • Evolution of word order in French (resp. Crabbé (U. Paris), S. Prévost, CNRS)
  • Ellipsis and Fragments (resp. A Abeillé, U. Paris )
  • Relative clauses : acquisition, typology, description (resp. Donati, U. Paris)
  • Marked constructions and information structure (resp. E. Adamou, CNRS; L. Brunetti, U. Paris)
  • Social Meaning and Syntactic Variation (resp. H. Burnett, T. Nikitina, CNRS)
  • Large scale resource grammars (resp. B. Crysmann, CNRS)
  1. Experimental and quantitative semantics
  • Grammatical Gender cross linguistically (resp. H. Burnett, CNRS)
  • Pluralities and individuation of reference (resp. Sorin, CNRS, L. Tovena, U. Paris 
  1. Experimental and quantitative pragmatics
  • DIA Dialog (resp J Ginzburg, U. Paris)
  • ProCue : Language specific prosodic cues in online sentence comprehension (resp. G. Turco, CNRS, H. Yoo, U. Paris)(collaboration between strand 1 and strand 2)
  1. History and epistemology
  • HistEpist :History of experimental linguistics (resp. S. Nicolas, U. Paris)