The International Conference of Nordic and General Linguistics 2012 was held in April 18-20 in Freiburg (Southern Germany). The special focus of the conference was on language contact, and for me personally it was imporant to get to hear and see the invited distinguished scholars of contact linguistics (Sarah Thomason, Lars-Olof Delsing, Anneli Sarhimaa, Frans Gregersen). In addition, Martin Hilpert's (Freiburg) talk was fascinating. It included a visual presentation of historical language change - scholars working on historical valency/argument structure change may want to check his web pages which entail some very interesting visual examples for his research: http://omnibus.uni-freiburg.de/~mh608/motion.html (don't hesitate to click the buttons!).
Furthermore, I was very impressed about the work of a research group in Norway (Center for advanced studies, Oslo) in which international scholars have been working on crosslinguistic differences and similarities in the syntax-semantics interface and in the study of information structure. In addition, they have studied the impact of L1 on linguistic representation and organization in L2. It was also very fascinating to see in their work how it is possible to find new areal features through a crosslinguistic comparison of linguistic features. Cf.: http://www.cas.uio.no/research/1011acrosslanguages/index.php. Their example certainly encouraged me, and I hope that more crosslinguistic studies on different languages will be conducted in Finland as well.
I attended this conference with Lea Meriläinen (English, UEF) and Helka Riionheimo (Finnish, UEF), and we gave a joint talk on the topic "Interlingual reduction: evidence from language contacts, translation and second language acquisition". Many thanks, Lea and Helka! It was fun!
- Leena Kolehmainen