The Linguist's Workshop: Data, Theory, Experimental Testing

08.Jul - 09.Jul

Cod. L02-19

Official language of the activity: English

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This Course proposal has two objectives. First, it aims at critically reviewing the notion of «parameter» and the formal means by which variation can be accounted for in a biolinguistics framework, understood as the interdisciplinary area defined by the joint contributions of linguistic theory, and advances in biology, the neurosciences, psycholinguistics, computational modeling and genetics. Second, the course presents a comprehensive analysis of the process from data collection to theory formation, and from there to experimental settings for hypothesis testing. In this sense, the course is a practical exercise in scientific research, geared towards masters and doctoral students as well as academic professionals interested in developing their own research project in the experimental area or linguistic documentation more generally. The course is organized on the basis of three basic themes: (i) Language Documentation for Linguistic Theory; (ii) Linguistic Variation and Linguistic Theory; and (iii) Approaching experimental linguistics as a tool for pursuing theoretical questions.

This Course brings together 6 internationally renowned specialists in the areas it addresses: Roberta D’Alessandro (professor at Utrecht University, expert in language contact and syntactic theory), Leticia Pablos (University of Leiden, specialized in experimental psycholinguistics); Maria Polinsky (professor at the University of Maryland, leader of language documentation projects), Ian Roberts (professor at Cambridge University and a well known scholar in the area of linguistic variation and change), Douglas Saddy (professor at the University of Reading, expert in models of experimental analysis), and Juan Uriagereka (professor at the University of Maryland and expert in syntactic theory). The course is organized by Ricardo Etxepare (Directeur de Recherches, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria (professor at the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea). It is sponsored by the lab IKER UMR 5478 (CNRS, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour), the Basque Research Group in Theoretical Linguistics (UPV/EHU) and the Centre de Lingüística Teòrica (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona). Each day of the course will start with a presentation of the organizers and closed by a one-hour synthesis, and discussion led by the organizers. The Course also provides an opportunity for the dissemination of ongoing research by means of a daily poster session during the coffee sessions, open to young researchers.


An informed view of the explicit grammatical models that have been developed to adress linguistic variation. In addition, elements for a critical examination of the strengths and weaknesses of those models will be discussed.

A good understanding of the conceptual, methodological and practical issues related to language documentation and fieldwork as part and parcel of theoretically oriented research.

A good understanding of how experimental methodologies can contribute to elucidate concrete aspects of linguistic structure and use.

A view of some of the most recent theoretical attempts to account for linguistic variation in a biolinguistics setting.

A view of some of the most recent initiatives related to language documentation.

A view of some of the most recent research being done in experimental linguistics.

Activity directed to

  • University students
  • Teachers
  • Researchers


  • CLT, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
  • HiTT, Universidad del País Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
  • IKER UMR 5478 (CNRS)
  • This research has been partially supported by project VASTRUD (PGC2018-096870-B-I00, MiCIU/AEI and FEDER, EU), the Basque Government (Research Group HiTT, IT1396-19), and the UPV/EHU (UFI11/14).
  • Gobierno Vasco-Eusko Jaurlaritza
  • Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación y Universidades
  • Course
    • Lliterature and linguistic
    • Science and technology
  • 08.Jul - 09.Jul
  • Miramar Palace
  • English
  • Academic Validity: 20 hours