REPORT | The Central European languages

- Team Prague consisted of Viktor Elšík (team leader), Jiří Januška, Vít Ulman, Jakub Jehlička and Adam Pospíšil.

- Team Vienna consisted of Stefan Michael Newerkla (team leader), Agnes Kim, Maria Schinko, Katharina Tyran and Tamás Tölgyesi.

- Team Berlin consisted of Philipp Wasserscheidt (team leader) and Aleksej Tikhonov.

Two workshops and an interim meeting took place during the project The Central European languages in the World Atlas of Language Structures: Supplementing WALS data(points):


Workshop I

organized by Team Prague and took place online (due to the pandemic situation) on 20–21 January 2022.

Day 1

opened with invited talks by the creators of the World Atlas of Language Structures: Martin Haspelmath on Classificatory concepts for typology and the Grammaticon vision and Robert Forkel on CLDF for distributed typological datasets, and a following discussion. The Prague team then introduced the potential scope of the project by presenting An overview of Central European languages and their representation in WALS, a presentation that included a delimitation of the geographical and linguistic area, a brief overview of the Central European languages, an overview of the current representation of the Central European languages in WALS and an outline of the representation of the areal features of Central European languages in WALS. The presentation was followed by a discussion of the languages (including minority languages, microlanguages, major dialects etc.) to be covered by the project and initial agreements regarding future responsibilities of the individual collaborators.

On Day 2,

the participants (for whom a presentation by Viktor Elšík on Searching for WALS and Grambank features and values in structural descriptions was available in advance) had an opportunity to take part in a practical exercise, which consisted of pilot searches for selected WALS features in the grammatical descriptions of the languages of their expertise. This was followed by free-style reflections on the exercise, a tutorial by Jiří Januška on Supplementing WALS datasets, agreements regarding formats of data sharing, deadlines, and the content of the following workshop.

A brief interim online meeting took place on 17 March 2022, which included a discussion of the coverage of the data to be supplemented before Workshop II.


Workshop II

organized by Team Vienna and took place at the Department of Slavonic Studies in Vienna on 8–10 July 2022.

Day 1

was devoted to progress reports by the project teams and their individual members with regard to the data processed in the WALS and Grambank formats for the languages of their expertise (especially Burgenland Croatian, Polabian, Selice Romani, Standard Austrian and Viennese German, and Vilamovian / Wymysiöeryś) and to a discussion of various methodological issues and problems encountered during data processing.

Day 2

consisted of several presentations by the workshop participants on their CENTRAL-related research projects and outputs (Agnes Kim on The Central European inguistic Area in the making, Viktor Elšík on Contact-induced development of vowel length in Selice Romani), presentations and discussions on additional linguistic phenomena relevant for the Central European area, discussions concerning potential additional languages to be processed, and a section on visualization options for the data (with invited technical personnel).

On Day 3,

the workshop participants reflected on the overall results of the project and agreed upon further lines of cooperation and division of work.

After Workshop II, the project participants have continued to work on the WALS and Grambank datasets for the languages of their expertise.

  • Viktor Elšík (Team Prague) has completed the WALS dataset (186 features), the Grambank dataset (195 features) and also the URATYP dataset (160 features) for Selice Romani.
  • Vít Ulman (Team Prague) has processed 138 features of the WALS dataset for Vilamovian / Wymysiöeryś and 92 features of the WALS dataset for Czech.
  • Team Vienna has processed 127 features of the WALS dataset for Viennese German.
  • Team Vienna has processed 122 features of the WALS dataset for Burgenland Croatian.
  • Philipp Wasserscheidt (Team Berlin) has processed 103 features of the WALS dataset for Polabian and 61 features of the WALS dataset for Serbian-Croatian


All the datasets resulting from this stage of the project are going to be published, in foreseeable future, in the open access data repository under the name CEntraLTyp – a typological database of Central European languages (working title).

In a more distant future, the database resulting from the project is going to be enriched by additional data, both by data from additional Central European language varieties and by data on additional linguistic features, especially on those that are specific (or otherwise relevant) for the Central European linguistic area (and, at the same time, not represented in the original WALS and Grambank datasets). The plan for the latter kind of data enrichment has emerged from the discussions between workshop participants during the Workshops I–II, representing a shift of emphasis in their typological work on Central European languages and a renewed basis for their future research cooperation.



Find out more about the workshop here

New calls for workshops will be published here