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Linguistic Diversity and its Sources


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Team webmaster : Maïa PONSONNET, Françoise ROSE

As its name suggests, the team Linguistic Diversity and its Sources (Diversité Linguistique et ses Sources, DiLiS, coordinated by Maïa Ponsonnet), investigates the extent, origins and consequences of linguistic diversity. It combines research activities along a “scientific chain” that links:

Fieldwork and linguistic documentation
Several team members carry out field-based first-hand data collection in a range of regions throughout the world (see below for a map showing the languages we work with), often collaborating with speakers of small, underdescribed and/or threatened languages.

Sociolinguistics of minority languages
Exploring the cultural contexts and linguistic ideologies of the speakers we work with is key to interpreting the linguistic data collected in the field.

Linguistic description
The collected corpora serve as a basis for grammatical and lexical description. This can take the form of complete grammars or dictionaries for some languages, as well as thematic analyses in other cases.

Linguistic typology of the world’s languages
In turn, such descriptions enable systematic and structured comparisons of languages across continents and linguistic families. The DiLiS team covers both grammatical and semantic typology.

Language evolution
Language descriptions also allow us to reconstruct the history of the languages and the ways they change over time. This concerns both the chronological developments of individual linguistic families, and the ways in which languages influence each other when they come into contact.

Origins and consequences of linguistic diversity
Combining descriptive, typological and historical analyses sheds light upon the mechanisms and principles underlying the emergence and evolution of linguistic diversity across the world. The DiLiS team also studies how this diversity interacts with other human phenomena such as cognitive, genetic or demographic parameters.

The DiLiS bi-monthly seminar offers a forum to find out about contemporary research results on linguistic diversity and its sources, produced both within our team and elsewhere.

Languages studied by the team members

(Last updated : February 2020)
Click on the pins for more details.
See the map at DDLmaps

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