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 Saturday 18 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.


For most people, travelling to the Workshop will involve either flying into or getting the train to Edinburgh and then either walking or getting a bus or a taxi to your accommodation. It’s easy to get into the city centre from Edinburgh airport: use the number 100 Airlink bus which leaves every few minutes and which drops you off next to the main train station (this is the last stop on the bus journey), or the slower Skylink 300 which will take you very close to the workshop venue. The main train station (called Waverley Station) is where most intercity trains terminate. Another option to get to the city centre is the Edinburgh Trams. In the city centre, the tram stops at Haymarket Station (there are some hotels in that area and around the nearby financial district), Shandwick Place (the stop is called West End — Princes Street), around the middle of Princes Street, St Andrew Square, and York Place on the edge of the New Town (quite close to the YHA hostel if that’s where you’re staying).

Waverley station is a good orientation point – it’s situated right in the centre of the city, between the New Town and the Old Town, just next to Princes Street (Princes Street is the main central shopping street in Edinburgh), and there are normally lots of taxis available at the station (if you want to take a taxi to the conference venue, ask them to take to 7 George Square at the University. It’s about 15 minutes’ walk from the station to the University. You need to head south: walk up from the station into the Old Town along Cockburn Street and then up the Royal Mile and along George IV Bridge.


To book accommodation for the workshop, you may wish to consider the following:

Ten Hill Place Hotel – recommended as very close to the workshop venue, if a bit more expensive
Hotel du Vin – recommended as very close to the workshop venue, if a bit more expensive
Residence Inn Edinburgh – recommended as very close to the workshop venue, if a bit more expensive
Premier Inn Lauriston Place – recommended, as very close to the workshop venue
Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge – about 10 mins’ walk
Express By Holiday Inn Edinburgh Royal Mile – may be a bit loud (about 10 mins’ walk)
Apex City Hotel – may be quite loud (it’s on the Grassmarket, about 10 mins’ walk)
Radisson S A S – more expensive, well situated (about 10 mins’ walk)
KM-Central – refurbished university-owned accommodation and very close to the workshop
Jurys Inn – close to the railway station (about 15 mins’ walk)

The cheapest option would be to stay at one of the many hostels in Edinburgh. These have some very cheap accommodation, and several have private rooms, too. The following are all quite close (10-15 minutes’ walk) to the conference venue:

Budget Backpackers
Castle Rock Hostel
Argyle Backpackers
Royal Mile Backpackers
Safestay Edinburgh
Euro Hostel Edinburgh Halls
Edinburgh Backpackers
St Christopher’s Edinburgh

The main YHA hostel in Edinburgh seems nice, but it’s a bit of a distance from the conference (30 minutes’ walk). There are lots of buses, though.

Programme and book of abstracts

Please click here for a copy of the workshop programme and other important information regarding the workshop, and click here for a copy of the Book of abstracts.


Please register for the workshop here. You will be directed to an e-pay site, and be required to register to make payment. You will see that there are three options: most of you will be ‘regular’ participants (the other two categories are ‘organiser’ and ‘invited speaker’). The workshop fee is £50, which covers everything except the optional workshop dinner. Please contact Graeme Trousdale ( if you encounter any problems with registration.