Logo Utrecht University


Heritage Language Syntax


The 1st Heritage Language Syntax Workshop will take place online, on October 12-16, 2020 (DATE CHANGE!)

We are happy to announce the 1st Microcontact Conference on


Invited speakers

Werner Abraham (University of Wien)

– Göz Kaufmann (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

– Terje Lohndal (NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology & UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Maria del Carmen Parafita Couto (Leiden University)

Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland)

Gertjan Postma (Meertens Instituut)

Jason Rothman (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Marit Westergaard (UiT The Arctic University of Norway & NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Conference description

Grammars that develop under constrained input conditions provide a unique window into the mechanisms of language diachrony and language change.
Heritage languages have been the center of a vast number of studies over the last few decades. Some of these studies have focused on structural properties of heritage grammars in comparison to the baseline grammars (i.e. the languages spoken by first generation immigrants), with the aim of understanding whether the mechanisms of resolution of “optionality”, or more simply structural alternation, are common to all heritage languages or specific to the languages in contact.

This workshop will focus on heritage language syntax, with particular attention to the issue of structural optionality resolution in contact situations.

We welcome papers on heritage language syntax; papers addressing the following questions are particularly welcome:

– Is there true optionality in the language spoken by first generation immigrants?

– Are there phenomena that are more prone to optionality/change than others?

– Is optionality in the input always resolved by heritage speakers? How?

– What is the different behavior of verbal and nominal domain in heritage languages due to?

– Are there structural similarities or differences between heritage languages and creoles?

– Does the change in heritage languages reflect diachronic/endogenous change?

This workshop is part of the ERC Microcontact project (https://microcontact.sites.uu.nl/) at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics.

The program of the conference can be found here.