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Choosing your Words: Lexicalisation and Grammaticalisation in Greek and Latin

An international conference: UCL 1-2 April 2022

UCL main quadrangle

The aim of this conference was to examine change in the lexicon and the constructions of Greek and Latin. The lexicon and constructions of languages, thought they have traditionally been viewed as two separate fields of linguistic study, can be understood as continuous entities.

This continuum between constructions and the lexicon is an area where traditional boundaries between lexicon, morphology, syntax and semantics may be unhelpful in understanding how and why changes occur. This is symptomatic of a more systematic issue with terminology: compounds, for example, are the result of a lexicalisation process by which all of these factors interact with each other. We hope that case studies from the history of Greek and Latin, underpinned by a range of theoretical approaches, will help us to develop better frameworks for the analysis and explanation of linguistic innovation, a field in which current terminological constraints can make it hard to describe the phenomena clearly.

  • All are welcome! Please contact the organisers by email if you would like to attend: tell us whether you want to attend in person or remotely via Zoom.
  • If you wish to attend in person the conference fee is £20 (please use the link below to pay). This includes lunch and tea/coffee. If you wish to join the speakers at the conference dinner (£45), you can also pay via this link. Speakers do not need to pay either of these charges.
  • There is no fee for attending via Zoom. Please contact us if you wish to do this.
  • The conference fee will be waived for PhD students. Please use the form below to register as a PhD student.
  • We have a number of bursaries to help PhD students who are not giving a paper with the cost of travel and accommodation. Please use the form below to apply.

C o n f e r e n c e   p r o g r a m m e   

  • Friday 1 April

9:30    Coffee & registration

10:30 – 12:45 Paper session 1    (chair: Stephen Colvin)
  10:30 – 11:15        Prof. Silvia Luraghi (Pavia)
  Lexical and constructional patterns of Ancient Greek perception verbs                
  11:15 – 12:00        Dr Guglielmo Inglese (Leuven)
  Talking and fighting in Rome: syntactic alternations with lexical reciprocal verbs in Latin
  12:00 – 12:45        Baihui Cheng (UCL)
  Headedness and centricity of Homeric nominal compounds

12:45 –  14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Paper session 2   (chair: Baihui Cheng)
  14:00 – 14:45         Prof. Martin Haspelmath (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
                                    Anthropology Leipzig)

  Against ‘lexicalization’ (and what to replace it with)
  14:45 – 15:30         Tomaž Potočnik (UCL)
  How to say yes in Latin: on describing answers based on a literary historical corpus.

15:30 – 16:00 Break (tea, coffee)

16:00 – 17:30 Paper session 3   (chair: Silvia Luraghi)
  16:00 – 16:45         Ezra La Roi (Ghent)
  Category changes in Greek diachrony: the trajectories of fossilized mood forms
  16:45 – 17:30         Sólveig Hilmarsdóttir (Cambridge)
  Filling the ‘gaps’ of the Latin participial system: Discourse analysis and contact-induced  grammaticalisation

17:30 – 19:00 Reception (Dept of Greek & Latin, Gordon House rm. 106)
19:30 Conference dinner

  • Saturday 2 April

9:30 – 11:00 Paper session 4   (chair: Tomaž  Potočnik)
  9:30 – 10:15        Prof. James Clackson (Cambridge)
  It’s all Greek to me: Greek loanwords in Republican Latin
  10:15 – 11:00       Mathilde Bru (UCL)
  The Attic Lexicographers on Lexicalisation

11:00 –  11:30 Break (tea, coffee)

11:30 – 13:00 Paper session 5   (chair: Martin Haspelmath)
  11:30 – 12:15        Elena Squeri (Genova/Paris)
  Omitting Your Words: semantic specialisation in the Ancient Greek verbal
  12:15 – 13:00        Shoni Lavie-Driver (Cambridge)
  The future and modality in the Cassiodoran Latin Translation of Josephus

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Paper session 6   (chair: Mathilde Bru)
  14:00 – 14:45        Dr Evert Van Emde Boas (Aarhus)
  Not first at all: on (τὴν) ἀρχήν and grammaticalisation
  14:45 – 15:30        Dr Luis Unceta Gómez (Madrid)
  Pro di immortales! And other composite interjections in Latin. From syntagms to pragmatic markers.

   15:30 – 16:30      Tea, coffee. End of conference


Conference photo


Conference organisers: Mathilde Bru, Baihui Cheng, Stephen Colvin, and Tomaž Potočnik.

Location: UCL Institute of Advanced Study (rm G11, South Wing), University College London WC1E 6BT.

We acknowledge with thanks financial support from the Leventis Foundation and UCL alumni; the Classical Association; the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies; the Institute of Classical Studies; and the UCL Institute of Advanced Study.

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