On Thursday, May 17th Prof. Miriam Meyerhoff (Victoria University of Wellington) will give a guest lecture at the University of Cologne on “The Aesthetics of Variation.” All interested students and other interested guests are welcome to join the event.


It is well-accepted that studies of language variation contributes to linguistic theory, theories of human cognition and the historical relationships between languages. However, the aesthetic and ludic functions of language have largely been ignored by variationists. Linguists have largely ceded the discussion of these functions to anthropology or stylistics. While it is true that most of the variation observed in my fieldwork on Nkep is constrained by linguistic or attentional (cognitive) factors, in this paper I turn my attention to constraints that cannot so readily by explained by linguistic theories. Instead, they seem to be motivated by considerations of euphony, playfulness or aesthetic value. While these are seldom the focus of our analytic attention, they are clearly a function of human language and perhaps should not be excluded so systematically from variationist research.


Thursay, May 17th


University of Cologne, Lecture Hall C (Hörsaalgebäude)