Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Central

Areal Convergence in Eastern Central European Languages

The project aims to establish a regular forum for interdisciplinary research into language contact and linguistic areal convergence in Eastern Central Europe. Therefore, the project serves to strengthen an areal and comparative perspective within linguistics which should be productive in particular for young researchers. The multi-lateral research cooperation with the University of Vienna and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, which also includes the involvement of colleagues in Prague, Warsaw and Budapest, puts the focus on a methodical and empirical component in the investigation of two or more languages in the context of possible language contact phenomena. The partner institutions with focusses in the field of lexical borrowing, in particular for German, Slovak and Czech (Slavic Studies, University of Vienna) and in the field of morphosyntactic typology and microvariation in the field of Slavic languages (Slavic Studies, Humboldt-Universität) provide an excellent basis for cooperation for the described endeavours.

The languages of Eastern Europe (relevant to the project: German, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian) combine notable similarities on different linguistic levels. Besides lexical borrowing, these are characteristics such as the presence of short and long vowels, fixed positioning of lexical accents, participle passive forms, periphrastic future forms, resultatives with the auxiliary verb "to have", the presence or the development of the definite article, etc. (cf. Newerkla 2002). The project deals with this specified linguistic convergence from a structural-linguistic perspective, but also includes the discussion of multi-lingual societies in Eastern Central Europe and their cultural relationships. Included in the planned measures are (i) research stays for institute members, (ii) research stays for young researchers, (iii) and a research workshop on the subject of "Areal Linguistics and Language Convergence in Eastern Central Europe".