North East Linguistics Society 53

Frequently asked questions

Why Göttingen?

Due to pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic among other factors, no universities were available to host NELS in the United States or Canada. As a result, the linguistics community at the University of Göttingen, together with the Research Training Group 2636 “Form-meaning mismatches” put together the necessary personnel and infrastructure to make NELS 53 happen this year.

Although the University of Göttingen falls outside the conventional definition of the Northeast, we strongly believe that a(nother) meeting in Europe will bring about new opportunities in international cooperation within linguistics, and will open up connections between linguists who would otherwise be insulated from each other. We hope that this meeting in Göttingen will lead to new collaborations and friendships in our field.

Göttingen is located in the center of Germany and is well-connected to many major European cities, in addition to being just a couple of hours away by train from all major German airports. As such, NELS this year will be particularly accessible to linguists in mainland Europe, but should not be prohibitively inaccessible to linguists elsewhere.

What will the fees be for NELS 53?

There will be no fees for NELS 53 participants. Those who are able to join in person are free to attend, and those who cannot will be able to join online. However, we ask that those who would like to partake in tea/coffee and snacks pay a voluntary contribution of €10 for students, or €20 for non-students.

Will the meeting be onsite or online?

Anyone who wants to join NELS 53 will be able to do so onsite. While we would of course prefer that everyone present in person, we accept that this is not always practicable, especially given the dynamic and unpredictable COVID situation. We will arrange the necessary infrastructure for participants to be able to present and attend online. Onsite presentations will be accessible via Zoom.

What is the format for presentations, and what are the sessions?

Submitted presentations will last 20 minutes, followed by a discussion session of 10 minutes. The presentations will be hybrid, i.e. both onsite and on Zoom.

Presentations are split up into three sessions. They are described below so that submitters can judge which session would best match their content and approach.

  1. General session: presentations concerning general issues in phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics/pragmatics.
  2. Special session on visual communication, gesture, and sign linguistics: presentations concerning the many roles that the visual–gestural domain can play in sign and spoken language acquisition and use. Interpretation between English and ASL/IS will be provided for this session.
  3. Special session on form–meaning mismatches: presentations concerning specific mismatches in form and meaning, such as the examples below:
  • Multiple formal elements which express a single meaning.
  • Ambiguity in meaning expressed by a single formal structure.
  • Meanings represented without formal marking.
  • Obligatory formal elements which carry no meaning.

How do I register?

Registration details will be made available soon. Check back on this site for updates.

Travel and accommodation

If you are flying to Germany, we recommend flying first to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) or Hannover airport (HAJ). These are the closest to Göttingen and offer frequent trains to Göttingen. If there are no flights from your location to these airports, flying to Berlin and Hamburg are also options; we recommend against flying to Munich since it is comparatively far away. Train tickets can be booked using

For accommodation, we can suggest Hotel Stadt Hannover ( and Hotel Central (

Both of the aforementioned hotels are within walking distance of the train station. From the hotels, it is about a 5 minute walk to the venue.

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