The Institute for Bulgarian Language organises Winter Linguistic Seminar in January and February 2021.


Penka Stateva (University of Nova Goritsa, Slovenia) will present a lecture Linguistic transfer in the pragmatic domain (in Bulgarian) online on 28 January 2021 (Thursday) at 11:00am.

Artur Stepanov (University of Nova Goritsa, Slovenia) will present a lecture Measuring free word order: Some empirical and modeling perspectives (in English) online on 11 February 2021 (Thursday) at 11:00am.


Linguistic transfer in the pragmatic domain

Penka Stateva, University of Nova Goritsa, Slovenia

In this talk I will present work in progress that aims to explore a previously uncharted area of multilingual language acquisition, which concerns negative linguistic transfer in the domain of pragmatics. The research is part of a larger program in experimental pragmatics which aims to identify points of cross-linguistic diversion that affect meaning. We investigate the impact of language variation on bilingual acquisition of grammatical number in pairs of languages like Lebanese Arabic and French, and Slovenian-Italian, in which the interpretation of plural morphology within each pair is different depending on whether the number paradigm also includes dual number or not.

➥ To the programme

Measuring free word order: Some empirical and modeling perspectives

Artur Stepanov, University of Nova Goritsa, Slovenia

Languages with (relatively) free word order have always presented a challenge for theories of syntax requiring that any deviation from the canonical word order (within the same compositional meaning) to be grammatically motivated. Parasyntactic motivations such as information structural or stylistic requirements may account for some portion of the word order flexibility, but not all of it. In addition, speakers do not necessarily accept canonical and non-canonical word orders to an equal extent, in fact the latter typically receive a lower acceptability than the former, albeit above the subjective threshold for what counts as ungrammatical. Some of the combinatorially possible word orders, however, are not acceptable at all. In this experimental study we scrutinize different word order sequences in a free word order language (Serbian) and attempt to isolate independent displacement factors responsible for various elements of the sentence appearing away from their canonical structural positions. We explore differential and cumulative effects of these independent factors to predict speakers’ acceptability scores.

➥ To the programme