Can linguistics be reunifed? How the “general vs. theoretical” distinction might help

If you are reading this text, you are most probably a p-linguist, at least most of the time. It’s not that I enjoy dividing people into categories, but when there’s conceptual confusion, I think that making up new terms for existing concepts often helps. So we can distinguish between general linguistics and particular linguistics (abbreviated “g-linguistics” and “p-linguistics”), and I have the hope that this distinction might help in reunifying the field of linguistics. So the purpose is not division, but unification, and with this (perhaps overambitious) goal in mind, I wrote the paper “General linguistics must be based on universals” which was just officially published (in Theoretical Linguistics). This blogpost tries to explain my original motivation for writing this paper. Continue reading

In memoriam Annegret Bollée (1937–2021), distinguished creolist and Romance linguist

It is with great sadness that I react to the death of Annegret Bollée, distinguished creolist, professor at Bamberg University, my dear colleague and dearest friend. We had the great pleasure to celebrate her lifetime achievement award of Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics just some weeks ago at the SPCL online summer meeting. Annegret gave an interesting talk about her current work on word formation in creole languages. She once more showed that her breadth of knowledge on French creoles and related French dialects (in synchrony and diachrony) has been and will stay outstanding for future creolists and language contact specialists. What a gift for creole studies and for all of us she was! Continue reading

Different explanations are mutually compatible: Structural, evolutionary and biocognitive

A few months ago, I was invited to give an online presentation to the Center for Linguistic Sciences of Beijing Normal University (my host was Chia-Jung Pan). This blogpost summarizes the main points of the talk (based on the talk handout; there is also a video of the talk, with questions, on Bilibili). The title of the talk was: “Structural, evolutionary and biocognitive explanations are mutually compatible”. Continue reading