Research at the LaCiTO



Describing languages, in all their forms, is the very foundation of linguistic activity. Only thorough descriptions, carried out over years of research with speakers, allow linguistic research to be extended to the comparison of languages, whether this is done from a historical or typological perspective.
For several years now, the members of Lacito have been studying mainly undocumented languages, or languages that have been very poorly described, often threatened with extinction due to a small number of speakers or to situations of unbalanced multilingualism that weaken them to the benefit of languages of great communication

The LACITO researchers are specialists of one of the “areas” listed hereafter.

          • Dravidian Languages and Indian Oral Traditions (in French)
          • Afro-Asiatic Languages (in French)
          • Balkan Studies
          • Languages of the Tibeto-Burman Zone
          • Oceanic Studies

          Various researchers work on other linguistic areas which can be found here or on Researchers Personal webpage.

<> Axe 2 – Typological and historical linguistics

Since an article by Greenberg (1963), the general idea is that historical linguistics, which studies the diachronic change of languages and the relations between “related” languages, both in the innovations that distinguish them and in the borrowings that bring them together, and typological linguistics, which compares the features of the world’s languages without any “genealogical” inference, are opposed – to complement each other. It is true that areal linguistics, well known at LACITO, had modified this opposition upstream by introducing the idea of socio-political environments favorable to exchanges across linguistic borders, at a level that is not necessarily that of the feature.

          • Panchronic Phonology (until the End of 2011)
          • Indefinites (2014-2016)
          • Problèmes d’analyse et de comparaison des langues (2012-2017) (in French)
          • Terrains, analyse et comparaison des langues (TACOL) (since October 2017, composed of workshops, fusion of “Terrains”& “PACOL” seminars) (in French)
          • Lexical structure: Typology and dynamics (since November 2017, composed of workshops)

<> Axe 3 – Linguistic anthropology

Both the work of our linguists, which concerns the anthropological perspective, and the work of anthropologists, which often concerns the practice of the language, are gathered in this axis.

            • Interlocution and Public Places (2006-2013)
            • Linguistic Change and Social Ecology (2008-2011)
            • Adoption, kinship, parenting: comparative perspectives between tradition and globalization (since December 2010, composed of workshops) (in French)
            • Naming, Terming and Kin Names (terms of address, of reference and teknonyms) (2004-2011)
            • Fieldworks (2015-2017) (in French)
            • Métaphore(s) : L’énonciation métaphorique en situation (2013-2018) (in French)
            • Indexicalités langagières et sociales (since October 2017, composed of workshops) (in French)
            • Jeux de Langage (since October 2018, composed of workshops) (in French
Other research activities of Lacito members
Research Federation on Typology and Linguistic Universals

The Lacito also works within the Fédération de Recherche Typologie et Universaux Linguistiques (FR 2559) [Research Federation on Typology and Linguistic Universals], and directs the following research program (2014-2018 or 2015-2019):

  • 8. Deixis dynamique (coord. A. Vittrant et A. Kopecka) (participation de C. Moyse-Faurie)

and also participates in the following programs:
1. Les dénuméraux à travers les langues (I. Bril)
3. Unité et diversité dans le marquage différentiel de l’objet (E. Adamou, M. Petrović)
5. Expression des comparaisons d’égalité et de similitude (F. Guérin, C.Taine-Cheikh)
7. Les questionnaires : recensement, analyse, valorisation et réflexion épistémologique (C. Moyse-Faurie, M. Petrović, A. Vittrant)
10. Le marquage de la distribution et de la co-distribution à travers les langues (P. Matera)

Labex EFL : Empirical Foundations of Linguistics

The Lacito is one of the partners of the labex EFL : Empirical Foundations of Linguistics.
Some of Lacito members coordinate Research sub-strands:

  • 1. Phonetic and phonological complexity
    PPC2 – Evolutionary approaches to phonology: new goals, new methods (in diachrony and panchrony)
    (coord. M. Mazaudon , G. Jacques & A. Michaud)
  • 3. Typology and dynamics of linguistic systems
    RT1 – Reconstruction, internal classification and grammatical description in the world’s two biggest phyla: Niger-Congo and Austronesian
    (coord. V. Vydrin, I. Bril & A. François)
    RT3 – Long term typological changes in languages
    (coord. C. Pilot-Raichoor)

and some others participate in others Research Strands:
• 2. SA3-IS2 – Full vs elliptic clause alternation (coord. A. Abeillé, F. Mouret)
• 2. Ana5 – Event anaphors and temporal ordering (coord. P. Caudal)
• 3. RT1- Reconstruction, internal classification and grammatical description in the world’s two biggest phyla: Niger-Congo and Austronesian
• 3. LC1 – Multifactorial Analysis of language changes (coord. I. Léglise)
• 3. GD1 – The typology and corpus annotation of information structure and grammatical relations (coord. A. Mettouchi, M. Vanhove)
• 3. GD4 – A typological, historical and quantitative approach to the interrelation between tense, aspect and modality (coord. P. Caudal)
• 6. LR-1 A joint approach to language resources development (coord. C. Plancq)
• 6 LR-2.3 Techniques for speech corpora (coord. M. Adda-Decker)

National and international research programs

Numerous LACITO members participate in the national and international research programs directed by Lacito members (see here in English and in French).

Cocoon : Collections of Digital Oral Corpora

The Lacito is strongly involved in the management of the center Cocoon (for COllections de COrpus Oraux Numériques, i.e. Collections of Digital Oral Corpora). The latter – formerly known as CRDO-Paris – is a large repository of oral achives that includes the Pangloss Lacito collection.

Latest Federation TUL research programs directed by Lacito members (2010-2013)
  • 3. Path Typology (coord. by J.-M. Fortis, C. Grinevald and A. Vittrant)
  • 9. Information structuring and typology of detachment constructions (coord. by  MM J.Fernandez-Vest)


(2004-2009 or 2006-2009)

  • Axe transversal Banques de données (coord. B. Michailovsky & M. Jacobson)
  • P1.6 Typologie des relations et des marqueurs de dépendance interpropositionnels (coord. I. Bril
  • P2.1 Typologie de l’expression de la trajectoire (coord. C. Grinevald, J.-M. Fortis, A. Kopecka & A. Vitrant)
  • P2.2 Vers une typologie des modalités (coord. Z. Guentchéva & J. Landaburu
  • P3.1 Evolution des systèmes phonologiques et typologie (coord. A. Rialland & M. Mazaudon)