Martin Haspelmath’s presentations (selection)


Compound words, incorporation, and serialization (April 24, guest talk at JGU Mainz, linguistics colloquium) [zenodo]

Does informativeness trade off with coding length or with system complexity? (April 18, presented at a workshop on communicative efficiency organized by Olivier Morin, Leipzig) [zenodo]

Differential argument marking: Why is indexing different? (March 22, presented at the conference “Explaining the distribution of argument-coding patterns”, University of Potsdam) [zenodo]

Does economy (or efficiency) explain grammatical change? (March 9, presented at the Annual Meeting of the DGfS, Cologne, Workshop on syntactic change) [zenodo]

Moving beyond the stereotypes of grammaticalization: How to replace coalescence, cliticization, and lexicalization (January 13,  presentation at the SHESL conference 2023 “New historical and diachronic perspectives on grammaticalization“) [zenodo]


Comparing languages and comparing typological databases (December 10, remote presentation for the 2022 winter meeting of the Linguistic Society of Korea) [zenodo]

Biverbal constructions and related comparative concepts: (Retro-)definitions and analyses (November 16, presented at the workshop of the ANR-DFG ComPLETE project, JGU Mainz) [zenodo]

Architectural constraints vs. efficiency constraints: Argument coding and verbal voice coding (November 8, remote presentation for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) [zenodo]

Forward-formation and back-formation in a Relational Morphology perspective (Sept 1, Budapest, presented at the International Morphology Meeting) [zenodo]

Revisiting negindefinite pronouns (August 26, University of Bucharest, presented at a workshop on negative concord as part of Societas Linguistica Europaea) [zenodo]

Is cliticization an intermediate stage between free lexeme and affix status?  (June 28, invited presentation at the University of Potsdam) [zenodo] (Similar presentation at ICHL in Oxford: [zenodo])

Passive constructions: Universals and language description (June 17, presentation at the ETPOLL workshop in Frankfurt am Main) [zenodo]

Veröffentlichen in der Linguistik heute (und morgen) (11. Mai, Vortrag an der Universität Bern) [zenodo]

Class lectures: Syntactic Universals (May 9-13, University of Zurich) [zenodo]

Against “lexicalization” (and what to replace it with) (May 2nd, invited presentation at the University of Mainz) [zenodo]

A comparison of differential adpossessor flagging and differential argument flagging (April 20th, presented at the Mini-Workshop on Differential Argument Marking, Leiden University) [zenodo]

Against “lexicalization” (and what to replace it with) (April 1st, invited presentation at the conference “Choosing your Words: Lexicalisation and Grammaticalisation in Greek and Latin”, University College London) [zenodo]

Complexity of word meanings: Diversity and unity in the world’s languages (March 18, invited presentation at the Université de Liège, Belgium) [zenodo] [video]

Colexification, syllexification, and related things: Comparative concepts and possible explanations (March 1st, invited in-person talk at Uppsala University) [zenodo]

Classificatory concepts for typology and the Grammaticon vision (January 20; online  presentation for the Prague workshop on “The Central European languages in the World Atlas of Language Structures”) [OSF]


Method and theory in comparative grammar: Measurement uniformity vs. building block uniformity (December; colloquium presentation at the University of Manchester) [zenodo]

Language description and language universals (December; invited keynote talk at ICOLSI-43, the International Conference of the Linguistic Society of India) [zenodo]

Framework-free grammatical theorizing (December; seminar presentation at the University of Zurich) [zenodo]

Existential constructions and two types of comparative concepts: Construction-functions and construction-strategies (December; conference handout, Descriptive Grammars and Typology, Paris) [zenodo]

Symmetrical voice languages: Rigorous terminology and language universals (September; conference handout, International Seminar on Austronesian Languages and Literature, Denpasar, Indonesia) [zenodo]

From community competition to complementarity in general linguistics: The eight complementary why questions (June; conference handout, Congreso Internacional de Lingüística General, Seville) [zenodo] [talk on YouTube]

Structural, evolutionary and biocognitive explanations are mutually compatible (April; talk handout, Center for Linguistic Sciences of Beijing Normal University) [zenodo] [online talk on Bilibili] (blog version)

Efficiency explanations of grammatical patterns (April; online talk at Arizona State University) [online talk on YouTube]

Explaining diverse language structures from convergent evolution of linguistic conventions (March; talk handout, Birmingham lectures) [zenodo] [online talk on YouTube]

Variable argument marking and the difference between general and particular linguistics (January; handout of online talk at colloquium, UC Berkeley) [zenodo]


Ambiguity avoidance vs. expectation sensitivity in ditransitive differential argument marking (colloquium handout, Harvard) [zenodo]

Toward a standard list of grammatical comparative concepts: The Grammaticon (SLE conference handout) [OSF]

How evolutionary adaptation explains language structures (Abralin ao Vivo talk handout) [zenodo] [talk on YouTube]

Testable universals, the natural-kinds programme, and presupposed universals in grammatical theorizing (conference handout, DGfS Hamburg) [zenodo]

Grammaticalization and the efficiency theory of asymmetric coding (Copenhagen talk handout) [zenodo]

The polycategoriality parameter: Noun-verb similarities in some languages of the Americas (conference handout, SSILA New Orleans) [zenodo]

Some universals of reflexive construction markers and a possible efficiency-based explanation (conference handout, LSA annual meeting New Orleans) [zenodo]


What is easier to understand, mechanisms or results of linguistic changes? (conference handout, HU Berlin workshop on reanalysis, 2019 March 1-2) [zenodo]


Toward a new conceptual framework for comparing gender systems and some so-called classifier systems (Stockholm talk handout) [zenodo]


Do aliens have UG? On efficiency of grammatical coding as an explanation for grammatical universals (Leipzig University conference talk handout) [zenodo]


Coptic: A language without words (Presentation at the symposium “Ancient Egyptian-Coptic in Typological Perspective: Commemorating Hans Jakob Polotsky” (February 2016), organized by The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem) [zenodo] [YouTube]


The typology of comparative constructions revisited (conference handout, ALT biennial meeting Leipzig) [zenodo]


Four kinds of technical concepts in comparative grammatical research (presentation at MPI-EVA Leipzig) [zenodo]

Are categories universal? (presentation at MPI-EVA Leipzig) [zenodo]


Explaining alienability contrasts in adnominal possession: Economy vs. iconicity (conference handout, Syntax of the World’s Languages, Lancaster) [zenodo]


Class lectures: Explaining syntactic universals (LSA Linguistic Institute, July 2005) [zenodo]


Against iconicity and markedness (Stanford colloquium handout) [zenodo]


The Agglutination Hypothesis: A belated empirical investigation (Amsterdam ALT conference handout) [zenodo]


Suppletive periphrasis, symphrasis, and morphological theory (conference handout, International Morphology Meeting Budapest, June 1998) [zenodo]