- Suomeksi -
The Linguistic Association of Finland
Suomen kielitieteellinen yhdistys


Symposium to be held in Helsinki, August 24-26, 2005 at Tieteiden Talo


Language complexity has recently attracted the attention of linguists of
various persuasions. Obviously, the concept has different definitions in
different approaches to language. Some look at the issue from a more
autonomous theoretical point of view, drawing from e.g. information
theory, while others see complexity as difficulty of processing,
language learning, and language acquisition. These approaches need of
course not be contradictory. Complexity has always been an important
issue for creolists and contact linguists, as well as for formal
theorists and psycholinguists. Of late, typologists have become
increasingly interested in the question.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

  • Wouter Kusters (University of Leiden)
  • Ritva Laury (California State University, Fresno; University of
  • John McWhorter (Manhattan Institute; University of California Berkeley)


  • plenary lectures
  • presentations by other participants (20 min + 10 min for discussion)
  • posters
  • workshops

We encourage contributions approaching language complexity from
different points of view, e.g.:

  • What is complexity in language and how should it be defined?
  • Complexity in different linguistic domains (e.g. phonology,
    morphology, syntax, lexicon).
  • Complexity in spoken vs. written language.
  • Does complexity in one domain correlate with (lack of) complexity
    in another?
  • How do social changes and language contacts influence complexity?
  • How can complexity be compared across languages?

The main topics of the symposium will center around these issues, but
papers approaching complexity from other points of view are equally welcome.

Submission of abstracts and workshop proposals:

The deadline for submission of abstracts (in English; max 500 words) is
April 30, 2005. Please submit your abstract by e-mail to the address of
the organizing committee <complexity-organizers (at) ling.helsinki.fi>.
The abstract should be included in the body of the message. Please
indicate clearly whether your abstract is intended as a poster or a
section paper. Participants will be notified about acceptance by May 31,
2005. The abstracts will be published on the web pages of the symposium
at <http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/tapahtumat/complexity/complexity.shtml>.

Proposals for workshops should be submitted no later than April 30, 2005, and notification of acceptance will be given by May 31. These
one-day workshops will run in parallel sessions with the main conference
program. Alternatively, the first day of the symposium may be
dedicated to workshops. The symposium organizers will provide the
lecture rooms and other facilities, but the workshop organizers will be
responsible for the organization of their workshops (choosing the speakers


The deadline for registration is August 1, 2005. Please register by
e-mail to the address of the organizing committee (see below).

Registration fees:

  • general: EUR 50
  • members of the association: EUR 25
  • undergraduate students free

Participants from abroad are requested to pay in cash upon arrival.
Participants from Finland may send the registration fee by giro account
no 800013-1424850 to The Linguistic Association of Finland (SKY) /
Symposium, or pay in cash upon arrival.

In case you have further questions please contact the organizing
committee (see below).

Check for information updates at the symposium website:

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