Guest lectures of linguistic anthropologist Maria Khachaturyan

This week you are invited to guest lectures of Maria Khachaturyan (University of Helsinki), linguistic anthropologist, Africanist, field researcher.

M. Khachaturyan received her doctorate at the INALCO Institute in Paris - she wrote the grammar of Mano Language (Mande family). Her areas are field research and descriptive linguistics, social meaning in grammar, language contacts, language and religion, anthropological/sociolinguistic aspects of religious translation.

Thursday, May 11th., 17.00, Room 402 

Contact-induced variation in reflexivity marking: convergence, divergence and social meaning

It is commonly assumed in language contact studies that languages spoken by multilinguals become more like one another, which leads to long-term convergence between the languages. This does not lead to a sweeping linguistic uniformity, however: there is still an incredible linguistic diversity across the world’s languages. This diversity is partly due to an opposite process -- the process of diversification of neighboring languages which was called “neighbor opposition” (Evans 2019). However, while the results of convergence and diversification are rather well studied, little is known about the complex and contradictory process of convergence and divergence and the role of social factors in it. In this talk, I present my ongoing study of language contact between the Mano and the Kpelle languages of Guinea and show how, despite the potential of convergence, languages remain distinct. Focusing on variation in reflexive marking, an additional question I raise concerns differences in domains affected by convergence and divergence. Specifically, I discuss whether contact-induced variation in grammatical patterns can have social meaning on a par with linguistic features with concrete exponents, such as phonetic, morphological or lexical variables.

Friday, May 12 th., 15.00, Room 314A-B

Doing things with grammar

A well-known observation from interactional linguistics holds that the context of interaction is not a given but is constituted and sustained by the very process of interaction. Verbal acts do not only presuppose context for their appropriate interpretation, but speech performance can also effectively create that context. In other words, utterances can “carry with them their own contexts like a snail carries its home along with it” (Levinson 2003: 26). In this paper, I argue that certain grammatical categories—and above all, indexicals—are also part of the furnishings of the snail’s home. Indexicals are grammatical categories which are existentially tied to the context of utterance and index a relationship between specific properties of the speech context and properties of the narrated event. Examples of such categories include personal pronouns (e.g. I is understood as the person uttering “I”, Jakobson 1971), or tense (past tense markers denote events prior to the moment of speech). Their use, in some situations, helps reflect the context of utterance as much as it builds the context in other situations, in which case the speakers can effectively do things with grammar. I argue that the framework of presupposition accommodation can be applied for the analysis of these context-creating uses of indexicals. The theoretical discussion is grounded in a discussion of data on pronouns of address in Russian (ty vs vy) and demonstrative reference in Mano (Mande, Guinea).

Friday, May 12 th., 17.00, Room 314A-B (During BUS course "Linguistic diversity and language science" lecture)

Linguistic Fieldwork

In this talk, I will sketch out my journey as a linguist and a filedworker: the pathways to particular questions I address in my research, and unexpected ways in which the answers get shaped; trials, errors, failures and getting back on track; and most of all, the role of people: family, colleagues and language spekears who become colleagues and family.



From the Classroom to the Crypt

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On Thursday, April 20th, a band of Philology Faculty students delved deep into the crypts of the Vilnius Cathedral. The crypt-delvers are enrolled in the course Reading the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf (lect. Rūta Šileikytė Zukienė) that focuses on studying the text in its authentic Old English. 

The adventurous group found themselves several meters below the cathedral floor; pleasantly toured through the archaeological exhibits of the reconstructed past, the last resting places of high medieval nobility, and then bravely guided into the depths of the Cathedral’s darkened drainage system. Examination of the Cathedral’s underground illuminated the greater context and comparisons between the fiction and history of Beowulf and the cold stony reality of the brick-laden depths.





To provide some context, Old English is the early medieval form of English, and the language of the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of England amidst the turbulence of the Viking Age. Beowulf takes place in 6th century Scandinavia, but its Old English form is a Christianized retelling of an epic long familiar to pagan Danish poets. As the earliest noble graves in the Cathedral’s crypt testify, religious conversion was synonymous with cultural conversion. An act which creeps slowly over time, as the practices and rituals of a beloved past are not easily forgotten despite new identities under new beliefs.  




Beowulf recounts the adventures of a monster-slaying hero of royal stature. Thought to be indominable, and a bastion of poetic virtue, Beowulf himself existed in a transitioning world of religious identity. But the quality and greatness of his character surpassed Christian/Pagan dichotomies and revealed how bravery and excellence can be derived from both tradition and change. The Crypt exhibits a detailed history of transitioning faith and politics, while traditionally honoring the remains of the noble and faithful in the Royal Mausoleum under St. Casimir’s Chapel and the clerical Crypt of the Chapters. While Beowulf is a fictious work, brought out of Scandinavia to Anglo-Saxon England centuries prior to the Cathedral’s conception, such imperishable adoration and respect for shared tradition and societal change echoes both deep within the hallowed halls and the scripts of legend.





Along with their cherished Old English lecturer, the motely group of delvers hailed from different corners of the Earth. Lithuanian, Armenian, and American, Vilnius University students of the Scandinavian and English departments were accompanied by Erasmus students from both the Netherlands and the United States. The entire collective found themselves deep within the unlit heart of Vilnius, on an academic quest to understand more of this beautiful land and its incredible history. In grand respect for Beowulf and the entombed histories which lie beneath the Cathedral, the students, and their professor, continue their quest to further understand the majesty of this great wide world. 

–– Ian Dotson, 23/04/2023






Seminar with Dr Michael Pace-Sigge: 'Topic-targeted academic writing: creating and using a template corpus in class'

On 25th April (Tuesday) at 16.30 in room K3 we invite you to a seminar Topic-targeted academic writing: creating and using a template corpus in class with Dr Michael Pace-Sigge.

Within a university setting, acquiring the skills of a proficient writer of academic texts presents a challenge for both L1 and L2 speakers of English. This workshop will take Data-Driven Learning (DDL) task-based teaching approach. 

Regardless of the subject – be it physics, psychology, sociology or, indeed, literary studies, students, researchers, and teaching staff have a need to write academic dissertations, articles, etc. in English. For this, they need to be proficient in the language itself, yet, crucially, need the wording (i.e. framing, signposting, clarification, exemplification) which is expected in academic writing as well as appropriate technical vocabulary which is fitting for the target subject.  

This workshop will be a practical, hands-on approach, where participants can create a template corpus for any topic and have an introduction to using a concordancer (i.e., WordSmith Tools). With this tool, typical words and phrases will be extracted; the tool, furthermore, allows users to see how and when these are usually occurring. In the end, it will be demonstrated how these can be used to assist in writing a suitable academic paper. 

Dr. Michael Pace-Sigge is Senior Lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland, Finland. His key areas of research are corpus linguistics, lexical priming, and Spoken English. He is the author of, among others, Lexical Priming in Spoken English Usage (2013), Spreading Activation, Lexical Priming and the Semantic Web (2018) and co-editor of Lexical Priming: Advances and Applications (2017). 

Easter Greetings

Dear colleagues, all members if the community of the Faculty of Philology,

Easter is on our doorstep. Inevitably and irrevocably. Despite that spring has to fight snowstorms. May I congratulate you on the revival of nature, days getting longer and longer, new hope. I wish you all new ideas growing into important meaningful projects, sweet moments experienced with your students upon the discovery of something new and confirming what has been already known, cosy get-together with your family and friends on a bright Easter morning.

Kind regards,

Prof. Inesa Šeškauskienė
Dean of the Faculty of Philology

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Prof. A. Desnitsky seminar "Fundamentalists, minimalists, and post-modernists studying the Bible: what do we know exactly, if anything?"

We cordially invite you to prof. Andrej Desnitsky seminar Fundamentalists, minimalists, and post-modernists studying the Bible: what do we know exactly, if anything? on April 14th, 3 p.m., at room 92. 


Bible narratives are essential for the (post-)Christian civilization, and not only for it. But they can be read with different eyes. The main question usually is  “what has actually happened?” But in most cases, we just do not have a single answer. To mark the best-known approaches, fundamentalists insist on a literal interpretation, minimalists believe that nothing has ever happened unless it is proven archaeologically and postmodernists say it is all in the eyes of a looker. Needless to say, there are many other positions, too.  What is each approach's methodological basis and how trustworthy are they, after all? The lecture will give a brief introduction to these issues. We will concentrate mostly on the Old Testament since it presents more obvious cases (such as Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the formation of Israeli monarchy, etc.) but we can touch briefly on the New Testament as well, depending on the audience’s interest. 

About professor A. Desnitsky

  • a Russian scholar (Prof. Dr.), translator, writer, and essayist who left the country in March 2022 in disagreement with the regime; 
  • a leading expert in Bible translation and exegesis for the Russian-speaking audience, known for his ability to teach complicated things in simple words;
  • a translation consultant with a large experience in building multi-ethnic teams and working across language and culture barriers;
  • an essayist and blogger widely known for his creative style and allegiance to democratic values (“Liberal Mission” award 2018).
  • author of 95 scholarly articles (in Russian, English, German, and Italian) and hundreds of essays and columns published in various media (in Russian and Italian).


  • Поэтика библейского параллелизма. Москва: ББИ, 2007, 554 стр., ISBN 5-89647-133-5, тираж 1000 экз.
  • Введение в библейскую экзегетику. Москва: ПСТГУ, 2011, 413 стр., ISBN 978-5-7429-0660-5, тираж 2000 экз.
  • Современный библейский перевод: теория и методология. Москва: ПСТГУ, 2015, 430 стр., ISBN: 978-5-7429-0972-9, тираж 1000 экз.
  • Павловы Послания. Комментированное издание (руководитель проекта и научный редактор). Москва: Гранат – Институт перевода Библии, 2017, ISBN 978-5-93943-238-2 и 978-5-90645-628-1. 44 а.л.
  • Вожди и цари Израиля. Библейские переводы Андрея Десницкого. Москва: Рипол классик, 2018, ISBN 978-5-386-10413-9. 15,5 а.л.
  • Пророки Израиля. Библейские переводы Андрея Десницкого. Москва: Рипол классик, 2018, ISBN 978-5-386-10750-5. 14,3 а.л.
  • Послания апостолов. Библейские переводы Андрея Десницкого. Москва: Гранат, 2021, ISBN 978-5-906456-47-2.
  • Библия: что было «на самом деле»? Танах / Ветхий Завет. Москва: Альпина нон-фикшн, 2022, ISBN 978-5-00139-489-1.

International scientific conference “Language diversity in the world and for the world”

We are pleased to invite you to the 58th Linguistics Colloquium titled “Linguistic Diversity in the World and for the World”. The Conference will take place at Vilnius University, Faculty of Philology, on September 20-22, 2023.

We are very happy that our plenary speakers this year come from different countries. Their talks will focus on the following topics:

  • Johan van der Auwera (Antwerp) “Negative and free choice indefinites: a reappraisal”
  • Klaus Geyer (Odense) “Ungleiche Schwestern? Über Sprachvergleiche am Beispiel Dänisch-Deutsch”
  • Jurgis Pakerys (Vilnius) “Baltic causatives in the Circum-Baltic context”
  • Lina Plaušinaitytė (Vilnius) “Welche Art litauisch-deutsches Wörterbuch brauchen wir?”

We invite researchers from any country of the world and from all linguistic backgrounds to submit contributions related to linguistic diversity. 

You can find all relevant information on the conference page > 

Conference languages: German, French, English

Important dates

Deadline for abstract submission and registration: May 12, 2023

Notification of acceptance: June 01, 2023

Deadline of paying the Conference fee: August 01, 2023

Online publication of the Conference program: August 25, 2023

The Lund Neurolinguistics seminar 'Neurolinguistic Discoveries in Nordic Languages: Perception and Prediction of Speech Input'

Centre for Scandinavian Studies is happy to announce a neurolinguistics seminar, held by The Lund Neurolinguistics group at our centre on 31st March, from 9:30 to 12:30, in Room 314 A-B. The topic of the seminar is Neurolinguistic Discoveries in Nordic Languages: Perception and Prediction of Speech Input. The event will be held in English.

Please also find the event program and abstracts attached >>

You can read about The Lund Neurolinguistics group here >>

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