Call for papers

Recent research in usage-based approaches to language change has underscored the potential role of constructions as the locus of change (for example, Hilpert 2013, Petré 2013, Norde, De Clerck and Colleman 2014), and the contributions to Barðdal et al. 2015), and the incremental nature of such constructional changes, which may give rise to synchronic gradience (Traugott and Trousdale 2010, Denison 2010, inter alia). This research has been both quantitative and qualitative in nature. The aim of this workshop is to develop our understanding of the relationship between gradual diachronic change, synchronic gradience and linguistic constructions, and to reflect on the quantitative and qualitative methods used to collect and analyse the data. Our primary focus is on change in English, though papers with a focus on languages other than English will also be welcome providing they involve some degree of comparison with English data.

The workshop is scheduled to begin on the evening of Friday 17 November 2017 and to finish around 1pm on Sunday 19 November 2017. We welcome participation from PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty. The workshop consists of presentations from three invited speakers, alongside presentations from participants in a single general session: as this is a workshop, we have decided there will be no parallel sessions. We anticipate being able to accept a maximum of 20 papers; however, there will be some limited additional space for workshop participants who wish to attend without presenting. The seminar is to be held at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, at the University of Edinburgh.

We anticipate the fee for the workshop to be low (no more than £50) and will include refreshments and an opening drinks reception. A workshop dinner is also planned, and further details will be provided in due course.

Invited Speakers

The invited speakers are:

Martin Hilpert (University of Neuchâtel)
Muriel Norde (Humboldt University Berlin)
Peter Petré (University of Antwerp)

Important dates
Submission deadline: 25 August 2017
Notification of acceptance: 8 September 2017
Registration opens: 14 October 2017
Registration deadline: 5 November 2017

Abstract submission

We invite abstracts on any topic relating to the issue of gradience and constructional change in English. Papers which focus primarily on methodological issues will be welcome. Abstracts should not exceed one A4 or US Letter page in a 12pt font. The abstract should not include any information identifying the author(s). All examples and references in the abstract should be included on the one page, but it is enough, when referring to previous work, to cite ‘Author (Date)’ in the body of the abstract — you do not need to give the full reference at the end of the abstract.

Please submit your abstract to the local workshop organiser, Graeme Trousdale ( Please also contact him if you have any further questions about the workshop.


The organizing committee includes Hubert Cuyckens, Hendrik De Smet, Teresa Fanego, Liesbet Heyvaert and Graeme Trousdale.

The Santiago-Leuven-Edinburgh seminar on Grammatical Variation and Change in English is organized as part of a research project on gradience, constructionalization and linguistic variation involving the universities of Santiago-de-Compostela, Edinburgh and Leuven. The project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (grant FFI2014-52188-P; PI: Teresa Fanego). We additionally thank the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics for their support.