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From data to theory in linguistics

Des données à la théorie en sciences du langage

XXIe rencontres jeunes chercheurs (RJC 2018)

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Published on Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Créées en 1998, les rencontres jeunes chercheurs de l’école doctorale « Langage et langues » (ED 268, université Sorbonne Nouvelle) offrent la possibilité aux chercheurs en formation, inscrits en doctorat ou en master recherche, ainsi qu’aux jeunes docteurs, de présenter leurs travaux sous forme de communication orale ou de poster. Le thème de cette année – « Des données à la théorie » – s’intéressera à différents aspects de l’élaboration des recherches en linguistique.


31 May et 1 st June, 2018

University Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 (ILPGA) 19, rue des Bernardins - 75005 PARIS


Founded in 1998, the Rencontres Jeunes Chercheurs from the doctorate school “Speech and Languages” (ED 268, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle) offer students, whether they are registered in PhD or in Master, and young PhD, to present their work in oral paper or posters. This year’s theme, “From data to theory”, will focus on the different aspects of researcher’s production in linguistics.

Whether gathered in experimental or ecologic situation, or drawn from corpora of all sorts, data are given a prominent place in linguistics: in fact, theory is often defined as a coherent and efficient description of data. Thus, research could be described as a serie of steps, going from data gathering to their processing, using a suitable theory. New data can then allow to reinforce some theories or, at the contrary, to cast doubt on them or even entirely refute  them.  Indeed,  the  strength of a scientific theory lies, as Popper 19531  showed, in its refutability  caused  by  new  data.  For  instance,  Greenberg  19662    defined  “language universals”, basing his study on a sample of 30 languages. Afterwards, new languages’ descriptions and, therefore, new data, challenged the concept of “universal” as defined by Greenberg. Nowadays, we tend to speak more of tendencies than of absolute universals.

However, gathering and selecting data is not without arising many difficulties, both methodological and epistemological. The method must be linked to the research’s objectives while taking into consideration the constraints and issues specific to human and social sciences, such as data’s “naturalness”, the matching of different groups of data or their use by a researcher who didn’t gather them.

In the course of the analysis itself, the theories used make an unavoidable bias in data processing. These epistemological issues are central in the field of History of Linguistic

Theories where the processing of empirical data by grammarians and linguists, at any period, is studied. For instance, Auroux 19943 shows how the first descriptions of European languages were inspired by the theoretical transfer of the Greco-Latin model.

Nowadays, big data studies, experimental linguistics and resort to statistics attempt to minimize the bias due to the researcher’s subjectivity (bigger samples, strict protocols, calculation of the margin of error…). A great part of these fields is attributable to the informatic development: big corpus are created (CIEL-F, CFPP, etc.) as well as data processing softwares (Praat, R, LeTrameur, Toolbox, etc.). These new ways of studying language imply a new and quite different relation towards data as opposed to the qualitative way, but they also got their drawbacks. For example, errors in the transcript of a manuscript could cause wrong interpretations if there is no confirmation from the source text. Overall, the data’s analysis by researchers who weren’t part of their gathering, thus sometimes ignoring the context of production, can be an issue in their interpretation.

Actually, the link between data and theory might not go without saying, the researcher must constantly interrogate this very trend through his analysis and findings. All these issues will be at the heart of this 21st edition of the Rencontre Jeunes Chercheurs. In addition to the mentioned examples, all fields of linguistics are welcome.

The symposium is open to everyone: Master’s students, PhD students, young PhD, … The entrance is free.

A confirmation of presence will be delivered.

Submission guidelines

1. We encourage proposals relevant to this year’s topic and related to every linguistic discipline. Everyone who is interested in presenting an individual paper or a poster is welcome to submit a 2-pages abstract (5 000 characters ±10%) in English or French

by January 15, 2018 at 8 pm (Central European Time).

Abstracts must include a bibliography and from 3 to 5 key-words. They must be sent in two copies (an anonymous version and a non-anonymous version with candidate's name, university, department attachment and a valid email address) to the organising committee: rjc.ed268.p3@gmail.com .

2. Individual papers will be allocated 20 minutes, and an additional 10 minutes for discussion. The size of the posters is A0. Poster authors will be invited to give a short oral presentation of their work.

3. Authors of shortlisted abstracts should submit an article of 30,000 characters (without spaces) in French or English by September 15, 2018 at 8 pm (Central European Time). After a proofreading by the Scientific Committee, a second version of this article will be published in the acts of the conference. Articles must be sent to the organising committee: rjc.ed268.p3@gmail.com


  • Submission deadline for the two-pages  abstract:  January  15,  2018

  • Notification of acceptance:  March  2018
  • Deadline for the article (30,000 characters without spaces): September 15, 2018
  • Conference dates: May 31 - June 1, 2017

Conference location: Institut de linguistique et de phonétique générales et appliquées (ILPGA), 19, rue des Bernardins - 75005 PARIS

Contact: rjc-ed268@gmail.com

Scientific Committee

  • Martine Adda Decker,
  • José Ignacio Aguilar Rio,
  • Angélique Amelot,
  • Nicolas Aubry,
  • Nicolas Audibert,
  • Jacqueline Authier-Revuz,
  • Michelle Auzanneau,
  • Jean-Claude Beacco,
  • Irmtraud Behr,
  • Tiphanie Bertin,
  • Violaine Bigot,
  • Philippe Boula de Mareuil,
  • Cédric Brudermann,
  • Maria Candea,
  • Mariella Causa,
  • Jean-Louis Chiss,
  • James Costa,
  • Lise Crevier-Buchman,
  • Jacques David,
  • Jeanne-Marie Debaisieux,
  • Matteo De Chiara,
  • Didier Demolin,
  • Serge Fleury,
  • Cécile Fougeron,
  • Jean-Marie Fournier,
  • Cédric Gendrot,
  • Kim Gerdes,
  • Daniel Gile,
  • Pierre Halle,
  • Guillaume Jacques,
  • Takeki Kamiyama,
  • Dominique Klingler,
  • Florence Lefeuvre,
  • Dominique Legallois,
  • Cécile Leguy,
  • Aliyah Morgenstern,
  • Catherine Muller,
  • Samia Naïm,
  • Jean-Paul Narcy-Combes,
  • Gabriella Parussa,
  • Marie-Anne Paveau,
  • Claire Pillot-Loiseau,
  • Konstantin Pozdniakov,
  • Christian Puech,
  • Nicolas Quint,
  • Sandrine Reboul-Touré,
  • Rachid Ridouane,
  • Anne Salazar Orvig,
  • Didier Samain,
  • Dan Savatovsky,
  • Valérie Spaëth,
  • Sofia Stratilaki,
  • Isabelle Tellier,
  • Andrea Valentini,
  • Cécile Van den Avenne,
  • Georges-Daniel Véronique,
  • Patricia Von Münchow, 
  • Corinne Weber,
  •  Naomi Yamaguchi

Organizing Committee

  • Nadia Bacor,
  • Camille Dupret,
  • Vanda Enoiu,
  • Auphélie Ferreira,
  • Amal Khaleefa,
  • Mezane Konuk,
  • Julie Marsault,
  • Sara Mazziotti,
  • Masud Mohammadi Rad,
  • Amelia Pettirossi,
  • Pierre Vermander,
  • Benoît Vezin. 

1 Karl Popper (1953), Conjectures and refutations. Routledge Classics. London: Routledge.

2 Joseph Greenberg (1966), Language Universals, With Special Reference to Feature Hierarchies. JanuaLinguarum, Series Minor 59. The Hague: Mouton.

3 Sylvain Auroux 1994, La révolution technologique de la grammatisation. Introduction à l’histoire des sciences du langage, Liège, Mardaga.


  • Institut de linguistique et phonétique générales et appliquées - 19 Rue des Bernardins
    Paris, France (75)


  • Monday, January 15, 2018


  • donnée, théorie, méthodologie, TAL, exploitation, protocole


  • Comité d'organisation des RJC 2017 de l'ED 268 Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3
    courriel : rjc [dot] ed268 [dot] p3 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Vanda Enoiu
    courriel : rjc [dot] ed268 [dot] p3 [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« From data to theory in linguistics », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, December 06, 2017, https://doi.org/10.58079/z0n

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