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Workshop Proposal SLE 52
Matthias Eitelmann (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany) & Dagmar Haumann (University of Bergen, Norway)
The proposed workshop explores extravagance in morphological processes and investigates its impact on linguistic variation and change. The maxim of extravagance, as coined by Haspelmath (1999: 1055) in his account of the unidirectionality typical of grammaticalization processes, essentially picks up one of Keller's dynamic maxims, namely "Talk in such a way that you are noticed", which is active in the workings of the 'invisible hand' in language change (1994: 101). Thus, speakers, in their intent to be "socially successful with their speech" (Haspelmath 1999: 1057f.), may not only be particularly expressive but deviate noticeably and considerably from established language norms by using an expression in an innovative sense, in an "imaginative and vivid" way (ibid.), or any other clearly attention-attracting fashion. Extravagance may therefore be regarded as a trigger for language variation and change, with such ostensibly deviating and non-conforming language use ultimately initiating the formation of new patterns. It also shows considerable overlap with the notion of linguistic creativity, i.e. "the native speaker's ability to extend the language system in a motivated, but unpredictable (non-rule-governed) way" (Bauer 1983: 63). At the same time, extravagance goes beyond creativity in that it is conceptualized as an integral part of language change processes.
Against this backdrop, the workshop seeks to re-address the notion of extravagance in an attempt to operationalize the concept to a larger degree, investigate extravagant phenomena empirically and shed further theoretical light on the role of extravagance in language variation and change. To a certain extent, extravagance shares features of what Zwicky & Pullum (1983) have referred to as 'expressive morphology', a notion that predominantly refers to ad-hoc formations with characteristics such as a "specific pragmatic effect", "imperfect control" (i.e. speakers lacking the ability to apply the word-formation pattern productively) or the restricted occurrence of such expressive formations in particular syntactic contexts (Zwicky & Pullum 1983: 335-8). However, in contrast to expressive morphology, our re-conceptualization of extravagance seeks to go beyond the individual speaker's innovative language use and takes into account the eventual effect that innovations have on the language system and its structures, i.e. by discussing the concomitant effect of extravagance on linguistic variation and change and its theoretical ramifications.
Understood literally in the sense of the underlying Latin etymon extra-vagans 'wandering outside, out of bounds', extravagance in the present context refers to morphological phenomena that display divergent tendencies, with a specific interest in the following:
word-formation processes that straddle boundaries and turn extravagant in that innovative formations violate alleged or actual constraints, such as the pervasive spread of affixes, as witnessed by
- -ish developing from a derivational suffix deriving adjectives from an ever growing set of bases into a 'detachable' degree operator surfacing as a phrasal affix/clitic or as a free lexical item (e.g. British, awkwardish, body-spray-ish, light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-ish, everybody-ish, Ish!, see e.g. Kuzmack 2007, Traugott & Trousdale 2013, Oltra-Massuet 2017, Eitelmann, Haugland & Haumann forthc. a, b)
- -ly undergoing secondary grammaticalization from a derivational suffix deriving manner adverbs form adjectives to a generalized 'adverbializer' deriving various subclasses of adverbs (e.g. epistemic possibly, illocutionary briefly, or subject-oriented willingly) from a variety of bases (e.g. purposely, seldomly, shiveringly, wetly; see Nevalainen 1994, Killie 1998, 2007)
phenomena situated at the interface between morphology and syntax or morphology and semantics/pragmatics, thus extravagantly straying over various linguistic levels, such as
- lexical structures involving phrasal embeddings (e.g. stick-it-in-your-ear-attitude; see Pascual et al. 2013 on what they call 'direct speech compounds')
- contrastive reduplication with a variety of lexical(ized) items (e.g. An evening bag or a BAG-bag?, I like it quite a lot but not A-LOT-a-lot) indicating that the "prototypical meaning of the [reduplicated] lexical item is intended" (Ghomeshi et al. 2004: 312; examples gleaned from the Corpus of English Contrastive Focus Reduplications)
borderline phenomena that are not easily reconcilable with traditional postulates of morphological accounts, such as
- the cross-categoriality and multifunctionality of aforementioned -ish- and -ly-derivation, calling into question the validity of the Unitary Base Hypothesis (Aronoff 1976)
- particle-verb nominalizations that involve a twofold attachment of the -er suffix (crowd-warmer-upper, trash-picker-upper, cf. Cappelle 2010, Lensch 2018), which challenge the assumption of a general paucity of reduplication in English and other European languages (Schwaiger 2015: 478)
While the above illustrations are all taken from English, extravagance can also be observed in other languages (see, for instance, (i) spreading suffixes such as Spanish emotive -azo or -ón (Lang 1990), Dutch adverbial –erwijs (Diepeveen & Van de Velde 2010) or German pejorative Ge-x-e/x-erei (Dammel & Quindt 2016); (ii) phenomena transgressing the borders of linguistic levels as in external degree modification (e.g. German sau die gute Party, cf. Gutzmann & Turgay 2015) or (iii) challenging or supporting evidence for more or less controversial universal tenets of morphological theorizing as instantiated by languages other than English, e.g. expressive diminutives in (non)European languages, which sheds new light on the Split Morphology Hypothesis, as discussed by Fortin 2011).
The aim of this workshop is to bring together experts in variational morphology and/or morphological theory to provide a forum to share and advance knowledge of the workings and impact of extravagance, i.e. speakers' deliberate deviation from established language norms, in morphological variation and change. The workshop also seeks to re-assess the empirical adequacy of established or alleged morphological principles and constraints and challenge their relative robustness or rather violability. Of particular interest are therefore the following research questions and their more general implications for linguistic variation and change:
- how much deviation is necessary to give rise to extravagance (and satisfy speakers' needs), and how much deviation does the system tolerate so that the speakers' needs can be satisfied (without there being any backfiring consequences doubting a speaker's linguistic competence)?
- where is the divide between innovation/change and violation/retention?
- what are the limits to extravagance, or in other words, what constrains the trespassing of constraints?
- are there specific domains that abound with morphological extravagance, as e.g. registers?
- which role do de-/re-categorization and reanalysis play? does extravagance feed these processes? how does the notion of extravagance tie in with context-sensitive approaches to language change that similarly observe deviation from established language use in the switch context (Heine 2002) or critical context (Diewald 2002)?
- are derivational processes, per se, more accommodating to speakers' creativity than inflectional morphology? is derivation-induced variation and change more pervasive than inflection-induced variation and change?
- are periphrastic constructions more expressive and extravagant than synthetic ones? does verbosity play a role?
- which (other) sociolinguistic factors 'promote' speakers' deviation from established norms? who are the 'movers'?
- what, finally, distinguishes extravagance from expressiveness or other related concepts such as 'extragrammatical morphology' or 'marginal morphology' (cf. Doneschal & Thornton 2000, Mattiello 2013)?
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