The Jenny Cheshire Lectures in Sociolinguistics 2011

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3 June 2011

Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Drapers Lecture Theatre, Geography Building, Mile End Campus, London E1 4NS

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'Articulating Sociohistorical Linguistics Ecologically: Lessons from European Colonial Expansion'

Adopting an emergentist approach to language evolution but focusing especially on the late wave of the Indo-European dispersal since the 15th century, I will show how changes undergone and caused by European colonial languages largely reflect changes in the socioeconomic structures
experienced and initiated by the migrating populations. I will discuss the extent to which particular population structures in the colonies qua contact settings are consequences of particular economic systems (the latter being largely determined by particular geographical ecologies), and how the notion of 'population structure', augmented with that of 'periodization', can help us account for the specific ways in which the relevant European languages evolved structurally. I will also argue that the same ecological factors invoked to explain the varying directions of structural changes can also help us account differentially for language vitality (which languages prevailed at the expense of which others where and when) in the colonies.

• The 2012 lecture will be given by Professor Peter Trudgill.
• The 2013 lecture will be given by Professor Jennifer Coates.
• The 2014 lecture will be given by Professor David Britain.
• The 2015 lecture will be given by Professor Paul Kerswill.

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