The UCL Department of Greek and Latin is pleased to announce an International Conference held at University College London on the 1st-2nd April 2022. Information about this conference can be found on our website: We welcome proposals for 30 minute papers (followed by 15 minutes of discussion) from established scholars, early career researchers and PhD students. Please send proposals or abstracts as an email attachment (Word or PDF, max. 3000 characters) to [email protected] by 10th January 2022. Speakers will be notified by 31st January 2022. Online access for participants who cannot travel to London will be also enabled. The conference convenors are Mathilde Bru (PhD student, UCL), Baihui Cheng (PhD student, UCL), Prof. Stephen Colvin (UCL), and Tomaž Potočnik (PhD student, UCL), and we are delighted to announce that speakers will include:

Prof. James Clackson (University of Cambridge)
Dr Evert van Emde Boas (Aarhus University)
Prof. Martin Haspelmath (Max Planck Institute)
Prof. Silvia Luraghi (University of Pavia)

The aim of this conference is to examine changes in the lexicon and the constructions of Greek and Latin. The traditionally strong separation between lexicon and constructions of languages might warrant a closer examination. The English expression “who knows” can, for instance, function at the same time as an interrogative as well as an adverb, the latter being traditionally represented by a lexeme. A similar situation can be observed in Aristophanes’ μὰ τὸν Δία or the Plautine ita me di ament, etc. Examining the variation and evolution of the language of the literary and documentary corpus can help us develop different or more thorough interpretations of these texts. This continuum between constructions and the lexicon is an area where traditional boundaries between lexicon, morphology, syntax and semantics may be unhelpful in understanding how and why changes occur. This is symptomatic of a more systematic issue with terminology: compounds, for example, are the result of a lexicalisation process by which all of these factors interact with each other. We hope that case studies from the history of Greek and Latin, underpinned by a range of theoretical approaches, will help us to develop better frameworks for the analysis and explanation of linguistic innovation, a field in which current terminological constraints can make it hard to describe the phenomena clearly.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

-Lexicon and constructions: can we understand them as separate categories or part of a whole?
-Can we understand the reasons (language contact, phonological, morphological, semantic, pragmatic…) for innovation and change in the lexicon?
-Motivations for grammatical change: insights from functional, cognitive, pragmatic, discourse approaches, etc.
-How can the reasons behind compounding be explained, and why is it sometimes favoured over other lexicalisation processes?
-The use of classical texts in examining linguistic change and variation.
-The use of theories of linguistic change and variation in interpreting classical texts.
-How cognitive approaches to language and ancient texts can inform our understanding of linguistic change and variation.