Workshop: Investigating morphosyntactic microvariation

Date: 19 July 2019

Location: Interpreting Centre, Room 41 Winkie Direko Building, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Recent years have seen a growth in the body of work examining morphosyntactic microvariation. Included under this term we consider both work on closely related languages, as well as that which examines structural variation between dialects. These include Marten et al. (2007, 2018) which examined morphosyntactic variation in Bantu languages, adopting an approach based on the use of surface-level parameters of variation. Bloom Ström (2018) paired morphosyntactic variation in Xhosa with an investigation into the sociolinguistic factors involved in variation. A number of comparative dialect atlas projects have also been developed, such as the Syntactic Atlas of the Dutch Dialects (Barbiers et al. 2002), the Atlante Sintattico dell’Italia Settentrionale ‘Syntactic Atlas of Northern Italy’ (Poletto and Benincà 2007) and the Scots Syntax Atlas (Smith et al. 2019). This body of research covers a wide range of languages and language families, and is associated with both on-going and completed projects, a range of research-based publications and other outputs such as the development of databases and tools of analysis.

This workshop aims to bring together those working on morphosyntactic microvariation in order to share the questions driving this research, tools and methodologies employed, challenges that arise, as well as the insights that can be gained by this type of research.

Papers may address topics relating to, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Variation in closely related languages
  • Dialectal variation
  • Different methodological approaches to examining microvariation
  • Challenges and insights associated with researching microvariation
  • Tools and questionnaires

Workshop organiser contact details:

            Hannah Gibson (Essex,

            Kristina Riedel (UFS,

Additional information will be made available on this page in due course.

Practical information

Getting to Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein is on the N1 and is served by several national bus routes (e.g., Greyhound, Intercape, Translux and Citibug shuttle) as well as less regular train connections. 

Bram Fischer International Airport is about 13 km from the UFS Bloemfontein Campus and has several daily connections to and from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and some other domestic destinations.

Getting around

There are a number of car rental companies with with branches at Bram Fischer Airport, downtown Bloemfontein, and one on the UFS campus (Hertz).

Taxi companies: Rooikat Taxis: +27 51 522 5446;  GG Taxis:  +27 522 6969; Alfa Taxis: +27 433 3341

Shuttles: Mothebe shuttle service: +27 51 430 645; Estasi shuttle service: +27 51 430 6811; Phalima shuttle service: +27 82 575 1549; Executive shuttle: +27 82 568 6288

Access to UFS Bloemfontein campus

Use Gate 5 on DF Malherbe Drive. This gate allows visitor access (via the Visitors Centre next to this gate), the other gates have restrictions (also note that not all gates are open 24 hours).

How to locate us on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus:

The Department of Linguistics and Language Practice is on the first floor of the Stef Coetzee Building (Building 23). You can access a UFS campus map here.  

Accommodation options

Here is a list of places within walking distance of UFS and the prices and links to their websites. Universitas near Wynand Mouton Gate are most convenient for participants planning to walk to and from the venue. Bloemfontein options are listed here

(Prices below are based on 2016 information).

Kovsie Inn: From R660 (breakfast included). On UFS campus.

Palm Lodge: R750 (breakfast included). 400 metres from UFS Main Gate.

Anta Boga: Queen Room R1 125 (without breakfast). Breakfast R190 per person. Five minutes’ walk from UFS Main Gate.

City Lodge: R1100,90 (without breakfast), and breakfast for R135. One km from UFS Main Gate.

Sun1: R520 (without breakfast) and breakfast for R47,50. Approximately 10 minutes’ walk from UFS Main Gate.

Lazy Lizard Guest House: R850 (without breakfast) and R900 (incl. breakfast). Approximately 10 minutes’ walk from UFS Main Gate.


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

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