Special Issue „Dialectal Dynamics“ (Journal Languages)

Alfred Lameli, Simonetta Montemagni and John Nerbonne invite proposals for contributions to the journal Languages for a special issue on „Dialectal Dynamics“, focusing on dialectological theory and expanding the linguistic scope of dialectology to less studied languages. Please consider submitting some of your work to this!

The submission must be through the journal web site for the special issue, which is at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/languages/special_issues/GZUP691XE0

We request that interested authors submit a proposed title and abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution and that they do this by 1 February 2024 and prior to submitting a manuscript.  Please send this to the guest editors and to the journal office at languages@mdpi.com.  Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purpose of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the special issue, but please note that abstract acceptance does not constitute acceptance of the manuscript to be submitted later.  Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

Tentative Completion Schedule
Abstract Submission: 1 February 2024
Notification of Abstract Acceptance: 1 March 2024
Full Submission Deadline: 1 July 2024

There is a more extensive description of the purposes of the special issue below.

Prof. Dr. Alfred Lameli
Dr. Simonetta Montemagni
Prof. Dr. John Nerbonne
Guest Editors

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The quantitative work in dialectology in the last quarter century enables us to document, analyze and map the distribution of dialectal language variation in unprecedented detail. However, usually we do not know why distributions of variation have taken the form they have. We suspect that progress in this aspect of dialectology is likely to arise in reflection about social and geographical factors together and indeed there is work that points in this direction. The Languages special issue we propose to edit would like to extend and build on this work in two ways.

First, we wish to stimulate dialectological theory based on the progress attained in quantitative work. A special focus will therefore be on work that deals with the combination of linguistic and, for example, social, cultural or economic influences in examining the distribution of linguistic variation. Second, we are also excited about the methodologically solid work being done on lesser studied languages and varieties, often in conjunction with language documentation. By encouraging and including research on a broader range of languages and varieties, we hope to avoid the myopia lurking when research is focused too narrowly on well-studied languages and areas.

We are open to work that addresses these topics even while presenting novel approaches to data collection and analysis, but all papers ought to address theoretical issues or should broaden the linguistic database by reporting on research on less studied languages.

In this context, we understand a theory-based approach to mean a more in-depth examination of empirical linguistic results.  We encourage the submission of reports on the modeling of both linguistic processes and linguistic states.  On a macro level, this may concern the change of language systems in specific contact situations or the interdependencies of linguistic and extralinguistic factors, such as geographical, social and cultural ones.  On a micro level, this may involve the evaluation of linguistic features in the language system or the connection between language use and linguistic complexity.

We invite papers on unpublished work addressing the topics above as well as survey articles covering research lines where several studies exist that deserve consolidation and/or criticism. Survey articles should aim to draw out the main results of specific research lines and try to suggest promising directions for the future. We aim for this volume to go beyond collections such as Nerbonne & Kretzschmar (2013) and complement existing collections such as the Frontiers issue on computational sociolinguistics (Grieve et al 2019–2022) and survey articles such as Nguyen et al. (2020).  The Languages special issue will focus more on linguistic issues, dialectological theory, and the analyses of less studied dialect landscapes.


Grieve, Jack et al. (ed.) (2019–2023) Computational Sociolinguistics, Topic in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/9580/computational-sociolinguistics#overview

Nerbonne, John & William Kretzschmar, Jr. (eds.) (2013) Dialectometry++. Spec. issue of LLC: Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 28(1).

Nguyen, Dong, et al. (2020) „How we do things with words: Analyzing text as social and cultural data.“ Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence 3:62.

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