The Chicago Linguistic Society invites abstracts in any area of current research on the human language faculty, to include phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and all relevant interfaces, as well as allied fields in the cognitive and social sciences. We particularly encourage submissions relevant to this year’s proposed special sessions, detailed below.

Presenters will be given 20 minutes for presentation followed by a 10-minute question period. Presented papers will be published in the CLS proceedings. This year’s conference features a poster session; those presenting a poster may be chosen as alternates for talks, and poster presentations will be published as regular papers in the proceedings.

Special Topics:

Brain and Language

Interdisciplinary research on the neural bases of language development, processing, and use has been rising in popularity, due especially to improvements in neuroimaging techniques and increasing knowledge in psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience. We invite abstracts discussing recent research on how the human brain behaves in different language-related tasks, such as first and second language acquisition, as well as speech and sign perception, comprehension and production. Comparative work regarding the neural bases of animal communication is also encouraged.

Endangered Languages

According to the Endangered Languages Project, over 40% of living languages are at risk of disappearing. This statistic underlines the importance of linguistic analyses of endangered languages as well as their preservation, revitalization, and documentation. This special session is aimed at bringing together people from many different backgrounds who share a common interest in endangered languages. We welcome papers focusing on diverse topic areas, ranging from theoretical analyses of endangered languages to descriptive and documentary studies.

Language Acquisition

The human capacity to comprehend language, how this capacity changes as an individual matures, and how it relates to general cognitive development in childhood have long been a subject of interest. This session will focus on this capacity, including but not limited to phonological and semantic development, the acquisition of syntactic and morphological structure, and the interaction of these linguistic abilities with the growth of related social and cognitive skills. We invite papers that discuss these and other topics in both first- and second-language acquisition, in both spoken and signed modalities.

Sign Language Linguistics

Research in sign language linguistics allows us to examine the effects that differences in modality, whether in the auditory or visual channel, may have on linguistic structure. This greatly informs our understanding of language, regardless of modality, as well as how modality may influence both the production and perception of language. We welcome papers that approach sign language research from a variety of directions, including, but not limited to, corpus, computational and psycholinguistics. We are also interested in cross-linguistic and cross-modal investigations, encompassing both experimental and formal methodologies.

Phylogenetic Emergence of Human Languages

The evolution of human languages, through both biological and cultural mechanisms, has garnered much attention from many experts interested in human languages and communication from various fields. Here, we want to focus on the very origin of human languages to address questions including, but not limited to: Was there a single origin for all human languages? What was the nature of the protolanguage(s)? How much of a role did cultural evolution play relative to biological evolution? We invite original research that explores different aspects of the phylogenetic emergence of human languages from the perspectives of different disciplines such as linguistics, comparative and evolutionary biology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, paleontology, genetics, and computational modelling.


Quantification, the study of which was first developed by Aristotle, is, in its most general sense, a kind of construction that specifies quantity. The notion of quantification is used in formal logic, as well as in natural languages where it is expressed through a variety of morpho-syntactic categories to form nominal expressions or complex predicates. Quantification has been extensively explored through studies probing the syntax-semantics and syntax-pragmatics interfaces. In this fruitful ground, we invite submissions related to theoretical research as it is applied to natural languages. Cross-linguistic empirical observations, experimental, and computational approaches are welcome as well.

Abstract Guidelines

So that we may evaluate all submissions in a fair and equal manner, abstracts which fail to adhere to any of the following guidelines will be automatically rejected. Abstracts will be evaluated under a two-tiered system involving both external and internal reviewers.

  1. Submit your abstract(s) in PDF format with filename PaperTitle.pdf (e.g., Prosodic_Form_and_Discourse_Function.pdf).
  2. Include paper title and keywords (i.e., CLS session title, linguistic subfield(s), language(s)/ language family) in the abstract.
  3. Limit abstracts to two letter-sized or A4 pages in length, inclusive of data and references. Use one-inch margins and a font size no smaller than 11 point. Incorporate data into the main text of the abstract, not on a separate page.
  4. Anonymize submissions by not including author name(s) in the abstract or filename. If necessary, remove author name(s) from the document properties of the PDF file.
  5. Use the Easychair platform for the submission of abstracts.
  6. Restrict submissions to one individual and one joint abstract per author, or two joint abstracts per author.

Important Dates:

  • Submission deadline: January 16, 2019 by 11:59 PM CST
  • Notification: March 2, 2019
  • Conference dates: May 16-18, 2019

For questions, please contact us at: