25 December 2011

Last Call for abstracts to: Optionality in Syntax and Semantics

Workshop: Properties and Optionality in Syntax and Semantics
13-14 February 2012
Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Submission deadline: 10 January 2012

Invited speakers:
Philippe de Groote (INRIA)
Thomas Ede Zimmermann (Frankfurt)

Much research in linguistics over the last decades has involved various procedures of syntactic optionality, which work in parallel to intensional phenomena in semantics. Certain phenomena of optionality, e.g. of unspecified objects or by-phrases in passives, have been treated by assuming empty syntactic positions (Bach 1980, Landau 2010).
Other optionality phenomena, e.g. of verbal adjuncts, were traditionally treated in Montague Grammar using intensional properties, but are more standardly treated as involving modification in event semantics (Parsons 1990, Landman 2000). Even some cases of adjectival modification (e.g. skillful doctor, beautiful dancer) that were traditionally analyzed as involving properties have been argued to involve event modification (Larson 2002). Both theories of intensionality and event semantics take the modification process to be purely semantic and avoid any empty syntactic positions. 

The variety of optionality and modification phenomena, and their intricate relations with intensional properties, lead to some hard puzzles about syntax and semantics:
1. Should there be a unified grammatical framework for analyzing phenomena of optionality?
2. Is there still a role for intensional properties in accounting for optionality effects?
3. How precise and elegant are current hypotheses about optionality in natural language grammar?

The workshop will examine these questions from the perspectives of formal syntax and semantics, and the formal philosophy of intensional properties. 

Invited speakers:
Philippe de Groote (INRIA): TBA
Thomas Ede Zimmermann (Frankfurt): TBA
Contributed Talks:
- Chris Blom (Utrecht): ACG fragment for verbs with optional arguments
- Hanna de Vries (Utrecht): Group distributivity and property-denoting indefinites
- Marijana Marelj (Utrecht): Optionality and argument structure
- Reinhard Muskens (Tilburg) and Noor van Leusen (Nijmegen): Events, Time, Worlds, Roles, Linking, and Variable Management
- Yoad Winter (Utrecht): Property descriptions in locative PPs
- Joost Zwarts (Utrecht): The role of events in adjective modification

In addition, there will be a number of slots reserved for solicited papers.

Reimbursement: Depending of funding restrictions, presenters of selected talks may expect partial reimbursement of their trip and staying expenses. 

We invite authors to submit an abstract (1 or 2 pages including references) for a 30-minute presentation (+10 minute discussion). Abstracts should be submitted via EasyChair: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=poss2012

Submission deadline: 10 January 2012

Notification:17 January 2012.