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Workshop 2018


workshop 16/03/2018

French (construction) morphology meets medieval medical vocabulary

program abstracts

Theme of the workshop

This workshop will focus on morphology and Construction Morphology used for lexical analysis, as well as the study of modern and medieval medical terminology. Particularly of interest is the morphological analysis of complex, viz medical, words, namely compounds and derivatives. The creation of modern French scientific vocabulary follows strict morphological patterns, called “neoclassical composition” (a.o. Cottez 1980, Fradin 2003, Namer 2009, Villoing 2012). This technique came into existence in the 17th and 18th centuries with the emergence of modern physics and chemistry and thanks to the work of scientists like Guyton de Morveau and Lavoisier. Neoclassical compounds are characterised by the combination of two or more morphemes of Latin or Greek origin, which have no autonomous usage. Moreover, the semantically governing element is placed right in these compounds. Oculocéphalogyre, for example, is composed of oculo, from Latin oculus, of céphalo, from Greek kephalê and finally, of gyre, from Greek gûros. Gyre is the governing element of this compound. Thus, oculocéphalogyre means « concerning the head’s movements with regard to eyesight ». However, the creation of a medical terminology already started in the 13th, but mostly in the 14th century, when the first vernacular translations of Latin scientific texts were made. We would like to compare the methods those scholars applied to coin new words with the neoclassical technique, in order to verify if this process was already applied used in Middle French scientific vocabulary, and if so, to what extent. The framework of construction Morphology (Booij 2010), which is the application of Construction Grammar to morphology, is also very useful for the study of modern or medieval (medical) terminology, because it considers language as a network made up of constructions and words as pairings of form and meaning. Thus, word-families and abstract schemas can emerge, which enable us to investigate if certain affixes are combined with learned - and thus loaned from Latin - stems, rather than native French ones.

Objective of the workshop

The workshop’s first objective is to gather international experts in morphology, mostly Construction Morphology, and the study of medieval and/or modern French (medical) terminology as to arrive at a better understanding of the underlying principles of word creation now and then. This aim is reflected in the choice of the invited speakers: Dany Amiot (morphology, Construction Morphology, diachronic linguistics, lexicology – Université de Lille, CNRS "Savoirs, Textes, Langage"), Sylvie Bazin-Tacchella (medieval medical terminology, lexicology, French medieval scientific literature – Université de Lorraine, Atilf/CNRS), Natalia Grabar (medical terminology, corpus linguistics, automatic language processing applied to specialized, viz medical language, lexicology – Université de Lille, CNRS "Savoirs, Textes, Langage"), Francesca Masini (Construction Morphology, corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, lexicology, experimental linguistics – Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna), Fabio Montermini (morphology, Construction Morphology, neoclassical compounds, lexicology – CLLE-ERSS, CNRS & Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès), Florence Villoing (historical linguistics, morphology, neoclassical compounds, lexicology – Université Paris Nanterre) and Kristel Van Goethem (morphology, Construction Morphology, grammaticalization and debonding – (F.R.S.-FNRS & Université catholique de Louvain). Secondly, this workshop will enable all the participants, audience and speakers alike, to share their ideas on these topics and discussions will lead to new insight and it will give them a better understanding of the underlying principles of word creation now and then. Moreover, another aim of the workshop is to provide an international and interuniversity platform for researchers, including PhD students and postdoctoral students from several foreign and Belgian universities.


By clicking on the following links, you can consult the presentations of all the speakers of this workshop.

Introduction: Michèle Goyens and Céline Szecel (KU Leuven) “Neologisms in the French medical vocabulary of the Middle Ages and their fate: a constructional issue?”

Talk 1: Francesca Masini (Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna)
“Making one’s way through the lexicon. A Construction Morphology account of simil- complex words in Italian”

Talk 2: Dany Amiot (Université de Lille, CNRS "Savoirs, Textes, Langage") and Kristel Van Goethem (F.R.S.-FNRS & Université catholique de Louvain)
“Les séquences subordinatives [N1 N2] en français : composés ou expressions polylexicales? Une analyse dans le cadre de la Grammaire des Constructions”

Talk 3: Fabio Montermini (CLLE-ERSS, CNRS & Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
“Neoclassical compounds on their path towards affixalisation. Two examples from French”

Talk 4: Natalia Grabar (Université de Lille, CNRS "Savoirs, Textes, Langage")
“Natural Language Processing for improving the understanding of medical terms”

Talk 5: Florence Villoing (Université Paris Nanterre)
“Les noms de spécialistes en -logue et en -logiste : deux schémas de composition néoclassique ?” 

Talk 6: Sylvie Bazin-Tacchella (Université de Lorraine, Atilf/CNRS)
“Familles morphologiques et cohérence terminologique dans un lexique médico-chirurgical en construction. Dire la cicatrisation dans les traductions françaises de Guy de Chauliac (15e-16e s.)”


KU Leuven: Faculty of Arts - Linguistics
Mgr. Sencie-Instituut - Room: MSI 02.18
Erasmusplein 2, 3000 Leuven

By train and by foot (map): The KU Leuven Faculty of Arts is at walking distance of the railwaystation of Leuven.

By car: Parking Ladeuzeplein (address: Mgr. Ladeuzeplein 20) is located at 200 m from the Mgr. Sencie-Instituut.

Workshop fees

The registration fee will be 50€ (full day) or 35€ (half a day) for participants and 30€ (full day) or 20€ (half a day) for PhD students. Students can attend the workshop for free, but have to register. The fee includes the conference welcome package and contents, the lunch and refreshments during the breaks, but does not include accommodation.


Please register before 26/02/2018 by clicking the button in the banner, where you can fill in the form. To complete your registration, please transfer the correct amount to the following account, but don't forget to mention the structured communication.


IBAN: BE60 7340 0666 0370


Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Krakenstraat 3 – 3000 Leuven



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