Back to listing

Two papers and a review

Evolution, Wellsprings

Date: 19 June 2017

Language’s June issue is out with two major articles and a review involving CoEDL people, a good reason to celebrate!

Last year you may recall, we introduced website readers to a study by CoEDL researcher Mark Ellison (ANU) and CoEDL affiliate Luisa Miceli (University of WA) providing significant clues on language diversity, using computer simulation and a study of Dutch-English bilinguals in Australia. Their modelling shows that in certain situations bilingual speakers can drive languages apart, by avoiding words common to their two languages. This work is now published in detail in this month’s issue of Language. Ellison and Miceli are also making all software and data used in their analysis freely available on the web. This includes the code used to simulate the cognitive process of divergence in a single individual, as well as code to simulate populations of various sizes and ratios of shared bilinguals. Access the code and further information here.

Also in the current issue of Language, CoEDL Research Associate Uta Reinöhl (Cologne) and CoEDL Associate Investigator Nikolaus Himmelmann (Cologne) have a paper debunking the linguistic concept of ‘renewal’, which is widely used in the literature on morphosyntactic change, but hardly ever theorized. In both an empirical and theoretical analysis of the concept of ‘renewal’ they find that existing grammaticalization theory is more than capable of describing linguistic changes that have been accounted for under ‘renewal’. At the same time, they point out that grammaticalization theorists have not been diligent enough in considering ways in which the existing language system influences the grammaticalization of new constructions, thereby allowing the concept of ‘renewal’ to gain ground. Reinöhl and Himmelmann point out domains in which such influence may occur, thus expanding and complementing existing grammaticalization theory. You can read more here.

And on top of our reasons to celebrate the current issue of Language, it also contains a review of Reinöhl's book Grammaticalization and the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan by Geoffrey Haig (Bamberg). You can read the review here.


  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

Subscribe to our newsletter