Workshop 'Lexical Anchoring Strategies'

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Work Package 7 (‘Classical Athens’) of the Anchoring Innovation project organises a series of Workshops on linguistic anchoring strategies. The first workshop will focus on lexical anchoring strategies (i.e. words).

Call for Papers/Pitches

Below you find a brief description of the topic for the workshops series.

The first workshop takes place in Amsterdam on the 9th of June, 2023. Our key note speaker will be Olga Tribulato, Professor at Venice. The other speakers are Ineke Sluiter, Basil Nelis, Arjan Nijk, Silvia Castelli, and Suzanne Adema.

Those who want to attend are kindly requested to send an email, before May 23, to Luuk Huitink (, listing any special dietary requirements if they want to join for lunch.

Lexical anchoring strategies

The research project “Anchoring Innovation” investigates how things which people regard as new are made acceptable by linking them to (‘anchoring in’) what they regard as already familiar. In other words, innovation will always be connected somehow—both in the ways it is communicated and perceived, and in terms of content—to what people know, believe, want, value, and can understand. In this workshop, we investigate lexical innovations and their anchors. We are interested in new word formations and in cases in which existing words acquire new meanings. Examples are new compounds (γλυκύπικροϲ, Sappho fr. 40, ‘bittersweet’, anchored in γλυκύϲ and πικρόϲ), portmanteau formations (e.g. lumbifragium ‘dickwreck’ (Pl. Amph. 454), anchored in naufragium, ‘shipwreck’), calques (e.g. Cicero’s essentia, anchored in Greek τὰ ὄντα), emerging technical vocabulary (e.g. metaphors like testudo ‘tortoise’ > ‘shield’ and ‘battle formation wherein the soldiers hold their shields above their heads’), the Atticizing diction of Imperial Greek authors (e.g. the renewed use of μετά + gen. ‘together with’, where σύν + dat. had long been the usual koiné expression), and other strategies besides.

Beyond mapping the various lexical anchoring strategies, we are interested in their functions, which may include, but are not limited to, specific stylistic effects, establishing authority, comic objectives (wordplay) and involving the audience in the process of sense-making.