Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation 4

29-30 June 2017

The fourth annual Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation (FWAV4) is a two-day conference hosted by the University of York (UK). We seek to connect research that pursues formal analyses of linguistic variation, in all domains of grammar (phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), with a particular focus on the connection between models of grammar and intra-speaker variation, rather than more traditional micro-variation or sociolinguistics. The purpose of FWAV is to bring researchers together in order to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms which underlie (and the relationship between) intra-speaker variability, language acquisition, and language change.

Invited Speakers:
Nicole Holliday, Pomona College
Anton Karl Ingason, University of Iceland


We invite papers on all aspects of formal analysis of the mechanisms of language variation and change. Research which makes use of annotated historical and synchronic corpora, or the results of which are derived from experimentation, are particularly welcome. Papers may address, but are not restricted to, one or more of the following questions:

  • How are language variation and variability encoded in the linguistic system (e.g. multiple grammars, variable rules, etc.)?
  • Can formal models of cross-linguistic parametric variation also deal with intra­speaker variability? Conversely, can formal models of intra­-speaker variability make predictions regarding parametric variation?
  • What do formal analyses predict to be possible or impossible, in terms of variation and trajectories of change? What are the limits of variation?
  • How does variability in the input affect language acquisition? How do language processing systems deal with variability?
  • What role does variability play in processes of grammaticalization?
  • Is it possible to establish that apparent variants are truly functionally equivalent in the grammar of an individual speaker?
  • How do we make the best use of statistical tools for formal linguistic analysis in this domain of research?

We invite abstract submissions for 30-minute talks (plus 10 minutes for discussion). Abstracts should be ANONYMOUS, no more than one page in length, with an additional page for examples and references, in 12-point type, US Letter size or A4 paper with 1‑inch/2.5cm margins, in PDF format. Submissions are limited to one individual and one joint abstract per author. 

Please submit your abstract via the following EasyChair link:

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: Friday, 24 March 2017 (11:59pm GMT)

Notification of acceptance: no later than Monday, 1 May 2017


The event will be held 29-30 June 2017 at King's Manor, the city campus of the University of York. King’s Manor is a complex of medieval buildings in the centre of York.


Please send all inquiries regarding FWAV4 to:

FWAV4 is being organized within the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York (UK), by the following:


FWAV4 is supported in part by the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York.


  • FWAV, 14-15 May 2013, Institute of Linguistics, University of Iceland, Reykjavík
  • FWAV2, 28 May 2015, Institute of Linguistics, University of Iceland, Reykjavík
  • FWAV3, 18-19 May 2016, City University of New York, New York