Time: Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 10:00-12:00
Place: C307, Södra huset, Frescati


Informed by what has been learned through typological and diachronic examination of aspectual (Bybee & Dahl 1989) and modal categories (Bybee et al. 1994), we look briefly at past approaches to grammatical meaning and compare semantic maps to  binary feature analysis. The sweet spots on semantic maps are likened to attractors in complex adaptive systems (Bybee & Beckner 2015). The nature of these semantic attractor niches will also be examined, especially with regard to the occurrence of modals in particular constructions. The goal is to reconcile the language-specific properties of grammatical meaning with their broad crosslinguistic similarities.

Bybee, J. & Beckner, C., 2015. Emergence at the Crosslinguistic Level: Attractor Dynamics in Language Change. In Brian MacWhinney and William O’Grady (eds.) The Handbook of Language Emergence. Wiley-Blackwell.
Bybee, J., Perkins, R.D. & William Pagliuca, 1994. The evolution of grammar: tense, aspect and modality in the languages of the world., Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bybee, J.L. & Dahl, Ö., 1989. The creation of tense and aspect systems in the languages of the world. Studies in language, 13(1), pp.51–103.


Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm & Tomas Riad