The new approach enables asking and answering completely new types of questions, which in themselves can open new areas of research in linguistics:
- Do sociolinguistic factors affect language structures independently of one another or only in interaction with one another, as has been claimed earlier?
- Is adaptation to sociolinguistic environment independent of language-internal structural tendencies, for instance, how case interacts with word order across languages?
- Which types of language structures are most susceptible to adapt to sociolinguistic environment?
The project will create new analyses of language structures and sociolinguistic environments, and these will be made openly available to other researchers. The data will include more detailed analyses of sociolinguistic environments, based on data in sociolinguistic and ethnographic descriptions and data provided by our collaborating experts. The typological data will include morphological analyses on several nominal and verbal categories, such as case and agreement.
The project “Linguistic Adaptation: Typological and Sociolinguistic Perspectives to Language Variation” (GramAdapt) at the University of Helsinki will run from January 2019 until December 2023 and is directed by Dr. Kaius Sinnemäki. It is funded by the European Research Council (ERC-Starting Grant 2018). The project synthesizes typological and sociolinguistic approaches to language variation and produces empirical results on how language structures adapt to sociolinguistic environment.