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The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistic Society
University of Chicago
29-30 October 2010

The 5th Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistic Society, was held in Chicago on  October 29-30, 2010.

The purpose of the Slavic Linguistic Society is to create a community of students and scholars interested in Slavic linguistics in its broadest sense, that is, the systematic and scholarly study of the Slavic languages and the contacts of Slavic with non-Slavic languages. The Society aspires to be as open and inclusive as possible; no school, framework, approach, or theory is presupposed, nor is there any restriction in terms of geography, academic affiliation or status.

Among the wide range of topics included in the conference program, the 2010 meeting included two special workshops, one on contact linguistics and the other on Slavic linguistics & the wider curriculum.

Descriptions of these workshops can be found below, and we are especially pleased to archive here audio and screen recordings of the conference’s three keynote addresses.



Jouko Lindstedt (Professor of Slavonic Philology, Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki)

Salikoko S. Mufwene (Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Linguistics, and Humanities Collegiate Division, The University of Chicago and Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon)


Aleksandr Rusakov (Professor, Department of General Linguistics, University of St. Petersburg & Researcher in Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences)


For millennia, speakers of Slavic languages have expanded over a considerable territory, coming into contact with speakers of other languages, both Slavic and non-Slavic. These contacts have left their imprint on the Slavic languages and have played important roles in their differentiation over time. By the same token, many of the Slavic languages have had a significant impact on the other languages they have come in contact with. The introduction of writing in the late first millennium brought yet another vehicle for contact influences, in particular from Greek in the early period, but continuing as a vehicle for change with the development of the literary traditions of the different Slavic languages.

The range and extent of contact-induced phenomena vary according to time and language and are often difficult to assess. Cases of lexical borrowing are generally clear, in terms of what is the source and what is the target, but in other areas of potential contact-induced change, it can be difficult if not impossible, to prove without question that a given phenomenon or feature is the result of contact and not independent innovation or shared inheritance. This is perhaps particularly true for the impact of one Slavic variety upon the other, where the genetic and typological properties of both are extremely close to one another. Additional ambiguities are introduced by the fact that some important contact phenomena occurred during the prehistoric period.

Led by Johanna Nichols (University of California, Berkeley)


Slavic linguistics programs compete against each other for graduate students, but when it comes to undergraduate enrollments we are allies working to expand and strengthen the Slavic field and the position of linguistics in it. Slavic linguistics is a small but important field that does not need to produce large numbers of specialists but does need
to reach out to non-specialists, attract more minors and double majors, and demonstrate to university administrators and our non-linguist colleagues its importance in the broader curriculum and in the task of helping form an enlightened citizenry. This workshop is designed to share experiences and raise the visibility of successful undergraduate elective and interdisciplinary content courses (i.e. courses other than regular language courses) that Slavic linguists teach and other Slavic linguists can profitably emulate. We invite papers and presentations about such courses and related curricular matters. We view this as a real workshop which will give us the opportunity to come together and discuss the role of Slavic linguistics today. Speakers who are presenting in the main session or the contact workshop are invited to participate in the Slavic Linguistics & Curriculum workshop as well.

The organizing committee for the 5th Meeting of the Slavic Linguistic Society was:

SLS 2010 was sponsored by the following groups at the University of Chicago:

The Humanities Division

The Franke Institute for the Humanities

The  Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures

The  Linguistics Department

The Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies

Norman Wait Harris Fund, Center for International Studies

with additional support from:

Slavic Linguistic Society

Chicago Linguistic Society