COLING, ALS, LSA & NAAHoLS - GramAdapt present at major linguistic conferences

Despite the changes in working environments owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GramAdapt team members have been active in participating in online events, acquiring important feedback and visibility for their work.

The PI of the GramAdapt project, Kaius Sinnemäki, gave a talk with Viljami Haakana at the Fourth Workshop on Universal Dependencies. The workshop was held remotely on December 14th, 2020 and it was part of COLING2020, the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics. Kaius and Viljami presented their cross-linguistic work on identifying possessive noun phrases in the Universal Dependencies corpus, which will serve as the basis for further work in the project. The paper is also available in the proceedings of the workshop.

Eri Kashima organized the workshop "Building Bridges Between Typology, Sociolinguistics, and Contact Linguistics: Concepts, Methods, and Challenges of Developing a “Sociolinguistic Typology”" as part of the annual conference of the Australian Linguistics Society. The conference was held online across two days, on December 14-15th 2020. The workshop consisted of six talks, three by members of the GramAdapt team and three by colleagues outside the University of Helsinki. Jennifer Hendriks (Australian National University) gave a talk on “What do we mean by language contact? A perspective from historical sociolinguistics”, Ruth Singer (University of Melbourne, Australia) a talk on “Typologising multilingualisms: from small-scale multilingualisms to meaningful abstraction”, and Hedvig Skirgård (MPI-EVA, Germany) a talk on “Non-linguistic factors predicting language diversification in large scale comparisons”. It was a great chance for us to get to know the other presenters not based at the University of Helsinki, some of whom we hope to collaborate with in the future. As for our team, Francesca Di Garbo & Ricardo Napoleão de Souza presented on “Sampling for contact”, Eri Kashima on “Explanatory factors and questionnaire”, and Kaius Sinnemäki on “A typological approach to comparative sociolinguistics”. The discussion was lively and we received very helpful feedback from the audience as well as some new questions and suggestions that we had not received so far!

Our team members gave two presentations at The 95th Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America, held on 7 - 10 January 2021. Annual meetings of the LSA are some of the largest linguistic conferences in the world and this year it took place virtually. Ricardo Napoleão de Souza and Francesca Di Garbo participated in one of LSA’s poster sessions presenting the language sampling technique developed in the project. The session was well attended with more than 40 participants, and Ricardo and Francesca got useful feedback from the attendants. Kaius Sinnemäki and Viljami Haakana gave a presentation on a variationist approach to differential number agreement in Finnish dialects, which was also well attended.

In addition, Kaius presented on language complexity at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the History of the Language Sciences, which was also held remotely on January 8-9.