Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Romanistik

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Romanistik | Aktuelles | Internationaler Workshop: "Peoples in Contact – Contact in People" vom 21. - 24.09.2022

Internationaler Workshop: "Peoples in Contact – Contact in People" vom 21. - 24.09.2022

Peoples in Contact – Contact in People

Socio-cultural, commercial, religious, political and linguistic encounters
in the Late Middle Ages in the Iberian Peninsula


Der Workshop findet von Mittwoch, d. 21.9. bis Samstag, d. 24.9.2022 am Institut für Romanistik statt.

Ort: Dorotheenstraße 65, Raum 4.59 und 4.58


veranstaltet von Frau Prof. Dr. Miriam Bouzouita und dem Lehrstuhl romanische Sprachwissenschaft (Spanisch)


Beschreibung (englisch)

The diachronic study of the Spanish language and, more generally, of the Ibero-Romance languages and varieties still exhibits nowadays two important gaps: (i) some historical periods, such as the 14th century, are completely understudied, and (ii) the exact role of the different neighbouring languages and dialects (e.g., Astur-Leonese, Navarro, Aragonese, Catalan, etc.) in the formation of Spanish, due to language and dialect contact, remains largely unexplored, especially with respect to its morpho-syntax. 
As concerns the first gap, this lack of studies on the 14th century is due to the various social, economic, and political crises that took place in this period, which have led certain linguists to believe that it thus must be of no linguistic interest. Here too, the lack of available transcriptions should be cited as an additional grievance. Concerning the second gap, indeed, while linguistic contact is most easily observable in historical documents at the level of the lexicon, it is well known that language and dialect contact can also affect grammatical features provided that the contact situation has been intense and persisted long enough (e.g., Thomason & Kaufmann 1988; Heine & Kuteva 2008). Notwithstanding this, only recently have Ibero-Romance linguists realised that more attention needs to be paid to the potential role of language and dialect contact within the Iberian Peninsula and neighbouring territories in the historical development of Ibero-Romance morpho-syntax too. 
Interestingly, recent research has revealed a recurring pattern in various morpho-syntactic changes that took place in the Late Middle Ages, whereby the locus of the innovations appears to be situated in the Eastern peninsular languages and varieties and/or Occitan, spoken more to the North of the Pyrenees. Subsequently, these innovative constructions appear to have gradually spread west- and southwards to the rest of the Iberian Peninsula (cf. Fernández-Ordóñez 2011; Octavio de Toledo y Huerta 2021). Other changes and innovations, on the contrary, seem to come from the West. 
In sum, it is necessary to revisit and further explore the role of language and dialect contact in morpho-syntactic variation and change found in the Iberian Peninsula in the 13th-15th centuries, i.e., the Late Middle Ages. In order to fully grasp the exact circumstances of how these historical contact phenomena arose, one cannot, as a linguist, but look outside the field and consider the extra-linguistic contexts of the encounters that left long-lasting grammatical linguistic. Against this background, this interdisciplinary workshop aims to create a open-minded space where historical linguists interested in the geographic diffusion of changes due to language and dialect contact can interact, exchange views, and, above all, learn from scholars proceeding from several historical fields in which encounters between various peoples take a central stage.