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

Formal Diachronic Semantics will have a website on its own and it will be launched at the end of this year – All suggestions are highly appreciated!
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 

Systematic Semantic Change, Call for Papers:

Systematic Semantic Change - Austin, TX (USA) - April 2013

2014, Sinn und Bedeutung, Special session: Formal Theories of Meaning Change
2015, 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL 22); two workshops:
(i) Patterns and Models of Semantic Change organized by Cleo Condoravdi & Ashwini Deo; (ii) Habituality and Genericity in Flux organized by Nora Boneh & Łukasz Jędrzejowski.

In 2017, a related workshop will take place at Yale University (New Haven, CT). The workshop is entitled Meaning in Flux: Connecting Development, Variation, and Change.

 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 – Homepage
  2. Saarland University (Germany) – November 20 – 21, 2017 – Organizer: Remus GergelCfP – Schedule – Homepage
  3. University of Oslo (Norway) – Organizer: Dag Trygve Truslew Haug – CfP – Schedule
  4. University of Cologne (Germany) – Organizer: Łukasz Jędrzejowski – CfP – Schedule
 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.




  • Schlechtweg, Dominik, Stefanie Eckmann, Enrico Santus, Sabine Schulte im Walde & Daniel Hole (2017): German in flux: Detecting metaphoric change via word entropy, in: CoNLL: The SIGNLL Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning 2017 [online publication].