Fo[rmal] D[iachronic] S[emantics]

What is FoDS about?

FoDS stands for Fo[rmal] D[iachronic] S[emantics] and is to be understood as a scientific initiative bringing together scholars working on the semantics and pragmatics of diachronic changes in natural languages from a formal perspective. The first official FoDS conference was organized by Regine Eckardt in Konstanz (Germany).

A brief history of FoDS and related events 

FoDS emerged out of several activities of the informal interest group in formal diachronic semantics. These activities include organizing a series of the following workshops:

  • 2013: Systematic Semantic Change, University of Texas at Austin (USA)  [Call for Papers];
  • 2014: Formal Theories of Meaning Change (workshop at the conference ‘Sinn und Bedeutung’), University of Göttingen (Germany);
  • 2015: Patterns and Models of Semantic Change organized by Cleo Condoravdi & Ashwini Deo (workshop at the conference ’22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics’), University of Naples (Italy);
  • 2015: Habituality and Genericity in Flux organized by Nora Boneh & Łukasz Jędrzejowski (workshop at the conference ’22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics’), University of Naples (Italy);
  • 2017: Meaning in Flux: Connecting Development, Variation, and Change, Yale University (USA).
 FoDS conferences 

So far we have planned the next FoDS conferences as follows:

  1. University of Konstanz (Germany) – September 12 – 14, 2016 – Organizer: Regine Eckardt – Schedule
  2. Saarland University (Germany) – November 20 – 21, 2017 – Organizers: Remus Gergel, Martin Kopf-Giammanco & Jonathan WatkinsCfP – Schedule – Homepage - PosterFlyer
  3. University of Oslo (Norway) – Organizer: Dag Trygve Truslew Haug & Patrick G. Grosz – CfP – Schedule – Homepage
  4. University of Cologne (Germany) – Organizer: Łukasz Jędrzejowski – CfP – Schedule – Homepage
  5. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) – Organizer: Nora Boneh – CfP – Schedule – Homepage
 FoDS IV - University of Cologne

FoDS IV will take place at the University of Cologne, either in October or in November of 2019. More information will follow in 2018.

Local organizers of FoDS IV:

Scientific board:

FoDS literature

The main aim of this subsection is to provide a list of works dealing explicitly with the formal diachronic semantics and pragmatics. Please feel free to contact me with your own suggestions!B


  • Condoravdi, Cleo & Ashwini Deo (2015): Aspect shifts in Indo-Aryan and trajectories of semantic change, in: Language Change at the Syntax Semantics Interface (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs 278) ed. by Chiara Gianollo, Agnes Jäger & Doris Penka, 261-292. Berlin: de Gruyter.



  • Eckardt, Regine (2006): Meaning Change in Grammaticalization: An Enquiry into Semantic Reanalysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Enke, Dankmar, Roland Mühlenbernd & Igor Yanovich (2016): The emergence of the progressive to imperfective diachronic cycle in reinforcement-learning agents, in: The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11) ed. by Sean Roberts, Christine Cuskley, Luke McCrohon, Lluís Barceló-Coblijn, Olga Fehér & Tessa Verhoef [online publication].


  • Fintel, Kai von (1995): The formal semantics of grammaticalization, in: Proceedings of the North East Linguistics Society (NELS) ed. by Jill N. Beckman, 175-190. Amherst, MA: GLSA.


  • Gergel, Remus (2017): Dimensions of variation in Old English modals, in: Modality across Syntactic Categories ed. by Ana Arregui, María Luisa Rivero & Andrés Salanova, 179-207. Oxford: Oxford University Press.