International workshop on

Gradualness in change and its relation to synchronic variation and use

Pavia, 30-31 May 2011


The workshop is part of the PRIN 2008 project "Contact and change in the history  of Mediterranean languages" supported by the Italian Ministry of Research and Education (, whose main coordinator is Marco Mancini (University of Tuscia at Viterbo). The universities of Bergamo and Pavia are jointly involved in the organization of this workshop.

 The workshop aims to contribute to the discussion on the factors at play in diachronic change and to investigate the relationship between diachronic gradualness and synchronic variation, integrating the current views on linguistic variation and language use.

Special attention will be devoted to theoretical and methodological issues concerning i) how the study of language change can benefit from the most recent achievements in linguistic theories and ii) how the explanations of synchronic variation may be found in diachronic processes, discussing whether diachronic gradualness and synchronic variation may be analyzed through the same lenses and by means of the same theoretical instruments.

Furthermore, the workshop also wants to address the question of the impact of contact on linguistic change. Language contact may indeed be seen as a special type of synchronic phenomenon that may last in time and may gradually lead to diachronic change, triggering or influencing the development of particular constructions in neighbouring languages.

Invited Speakers

Olga Fischer (University of Amsterdam): ---- Topic: On the role of analogy in processes of language change
Béatrice Lamiroy (University of Leuven):
---- Topic: The pace of grammaticalization in Romance languages
Graeme Trousdale (University of Edinburgh): ---- Topic: Diachronic construction grammar and gradualness in language change
Johan van der Auwera (University of Antwerp): ----- Topic: On diachronic semantic maps

The workshop will also accommodate four contributions from the project members (t.b.a) on the effects of contact and interference within the macro-geographic-area of the Mediterranean.


Anna Giacalone Ramat - annaram (at)

Caterina Mauri - caterina.mauri (at)

Piera Molinelli - piera.molinelli (at)

Scientific Committee

Marina Benedetti (University for Foreigners of Siena), Pierluigi Cuzzolin (University of Bergamo), Paolo Di Giovine (University of Roma La Sapienza), Chiara Fedriani (University of Pavia), Chiara Ghezzi (University of Pavia), Anna Giacalone Ramat (University of Pavia), Giuseppe Longobardi (University of Trieste), Marco Mancini (University La Tuscia, Viterbo), Gianguido Manzelli (University of Pavia), Caterina Mauri (University of Pavia), Piera Molinelli (University of Bergamo), Paolo Ramat (IUSS Institute), Andrea Sansò (Insubria University - Como), Federica Venier (University of Bergamo)