12 May 2013

Mike Clauss at AFLA 20

Mike Clauss presents his paper "Optional V2 and the Left Periphery in Tuvaluan" at the Austronesian formal Linguistics Association meeting at the University of Texas at Arlington on Saturday, May 18th. For more information about AFLA, go here.

Congratulations Mike!

Call for papers: Identity in Ellipsis

20-21 September: Identity in Ellipsis Conference

On 20 and 21 September 2013, LUCL is hosting the conference 'Identity in Ellipsis'.

Identity in Ellipsis

Identity in ellipsis is a long-standing issue in linguistics. Virtually all accounts of ellipsis phenomena assume that the elided material must be identical in some way or other to material in a suitable antecedent available in the discourse. The nature of the identity condition   and its precise formulation is under heated debate in current research. The main question is whether identity holds at some syntactic level of representation, or some semantic one, or both. 
The syntactic account of identity (Sag 1976, Williams 1977, Fiengo & May 1994, Chung et al. 1995, Baltin 2012, Johnson 2012, Chung 2013) holds that ellipsis is recovered under a form of structural identity with the antecedent, defined over phrase markers of some sort, in most but not all cases, identical LF representations. Clearly, surface identity is not required, as shown by possible inflectional differences on verbs (see Warner 1985 for exceptions, and Lasnik 1995 for an account), cf. (1). 

(1)       a.         They eat nattoo and John [ eats nattoo ], too.           
           b.         John has eaten nattoo and Bill may [ eat nattoo ], too. 

Semantic accounts, on the other hand, operate with an identity relation stated purely over semantic representations (Dalrymple et al 1991, Sag & Hankamer 1984, Hardt 1993, Ginzburg and Sag 2000, Merchant 2001, Anderbois 2011). Support for the semantic approach comes from various phenomena. One is 'vehicle change' (Fiengo and May 1994), others are syntactic mismatches of the kind in (2) (Merchant 2005): 

(2)       I remember meeting him, but I don't remember when [ I met him ].

Semantic accounts are also supported by the availability of non-isomorphic antecedents in clausal ellipsis like sluicing (Postdam 2007, Vicente 2008, van Craenenbroeck 2010). 
Syntactic identity is heavily supported by the lack of argument structure alterations (Chung 2006) and the lack of active-passive mismatches in clausal ellipsis (Merchant 2008), such as (3), since active and passive sentences differ from each other only in their syntax but not in their semantics.

(3)       *Joe was murdered, but we don’t know who [ murdered Joe ].

In addition to purely syntactic and semantic approaches, there also exist 'hybrid' approaches, according to which both semantic and syntactic identity can guide the recovery of the elided material. In the most prominent type of hybrid approach (Kehler 2002), it is the discourse relation between the elliptical clause and its antecedent that determines the choice between syntactic and semantic identity and impacts the elidability of constituents.

Psycholinguistic research on ellipsis has also begun to address the issue of ellipsis identity, in order to understand what guides the parser in the recovery of the antecedent. It has been found that various forms of antecedent-ellipsis mismatches receive a systematic cline of acceptability (Kim et al 2011), which might suggest that identity is syntactic but non-identical ellipsis can be 'repaired' and become acceptable if the repair is not too difficult (Arregui et al 2006).

Call for abstracts

We invite abstracts that bear on the identity condition on ellipsis from theoretical and experimental angles, addressing the issue of identity in any language. In particular, questions that the conference seeks to address include – but are not limited to – the following: 

  • Does ellipsis need syntactic or semantic identity, or both?
  • What is the role of discourse in determining which kind of identity is required?
  • Are there differences in identity across small and large ellipses (clausal vs. predicate ellipsis)?
  • Are there cross-linguistic differences in the kind of identity ellipsis requires?
  • Under which conditions can ellipsis sites be non-isomorphic to their antecedent?
  • What is the role of extralinguistic material in the recoverability condition in ellipsis?
  • Which psycholinguistic methodology can be used to address the identity issue?
  • How can we integrate experimental and theoretical approaches into one coherent model?

Submission guidelines
Abstracts are invited for 30-minute oral presentations (plus 10 minutes for discussion) and a poster session. Abstracts should not exceed two pages, including data, references and diagrams. Abstracts should be typed in at least 11-point font, with one-inch margins (letter-size; 8″ ½ by 11″ or A4) and a maximum of 50 lines of text per page. Abstracts must be anonymous and submissions are limited to 2 per author, at least one of which is co-authored. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please submit your abstract to identitycondition@gmail.com by 15 June 2013.

Invited speakers

We are pleased to announce that the following invited speakers have agreed to give a talk:

- Jeroen van Craenenbroeck 
- Jason Merchant 
- Gary Thoms

Selection committee

Lobke Aelbrecht, Enrico Boone, Jeroen van Craenenbroeck, James Griffiths, Kyle Johnson, Marjo van Koppen, Anikó Lipták, Jason Merchant, Andrés Saab, Bobby Ruijgrok, Erik Schoorlemmer, Gary Thoms, Mark de Vries.

Organizing committee

Enrico Boone, Anikó Lipták and Bobby Ruijgrok

Important dates

Abstract submission deadline: 15 June, 2013

Notification of acceptance: 15 July, 2013

Conference dates: September 20-21, 2013


Call for papers: Workshop on pronouns

Call for papers: The Impact of Pronominal Form on Interpretation

Date: 15-17 November 2013
Call Deadline: July 28th 2013

Meeting Description:
Pronouns can vary along two dimensions: (i) their interpretation (e.g., free vs.  syntactically bound vs. donkey pronouns) and (ii) their form (e.g., personal vs. clitic vs.  null vs. demonstrative pronouns). The goal of this workshop is to bring together recent  advances bearing exactly on the interplay of the two, e.g. how do choices along one dimension restrict the possible choices along the other one?

Invited Speakers:
Peter Bosch (University of Osnabrück)
Paul Elbourne (QMUL)
Irene Heim (MIT)
Martina Wiltschko (UBC)

Commentators for invited talks:
Vera Hohaus (University of Tübingen)
Gerhard Jaeger (University of Tübingen)
Jacolien van Rij (University of Tübingen)
Ede Zimmermann (University of Frankfurt)

Discussion: Current pronominal issues at the syntax-semantics interface
Uli Sauerland (Harvard/ZAS Berlin)
Sarah Zobel (University of Tübingen)

Call for Papers:
We invite submissions for 30-minute talks plus 10 minutes for discussion. Abstracts must  be anonymous, in PDF format, 2 pages (A4 or letter), in a font size no less then 12pt, and  with margins of 1 inch/2.5cm. Please submit abstracts via EasyAbs (see link below) no
later than July 28th, 2013.

Abstract submission link: http://linguistlist.org/easyabs/pronouns2013

Ideal submissions to this workshop might involve (but are not limited to) the following  components (individually or in combination):

- Experimental testing using methods from psychology/the cognitive sciences.
- Novel empirical findings (e.g. from corpus work), which shed light on pronouns
at the syntax-semantics interface.
- Potential extensions of current syntactic-semantic approaches to pronouns to
accommodate other pronominal classes (e.g. null pronouns, demonstratives).- Diachronic shifts of the pronominal form and interpretation.
- Recent developments concerning (anti-)logophoricity.
-Comparisons of quantifier-variable readings contrasting null pronouns with
overt pronouns.
- The cross-linguistic distribution of demonstrative pronouns and their comparison
to personal pronouns.
- Semantic differences between clitic pronouns and non-clitic pronouns.

• For questions or inquiries, please contact: pritty.patel-grosz@uni-tuebingen.de 

Organisational Committee
Katrin Axel-Tober (University of Tuebingen)
Patrick Grosz (University of Tuebingen)
Pritty Patel-Grosz (University of Tuebingen/SFB 833)

For more information, go here.

Call for Papers: BUCLD 38

The 38th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development will take place at BU on NOVEMBER 1-3, 2013.

 Keynote Speaker:

Elena Lieven, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology / University of Manchester

Plenary Speaker:

Heather van der Lely, Harvard University

Submissions of abstracts for 20-minute talks are now being accepted at:


DEADLINE. All submissions must be received by 8:00 PM EST, May 15, 2013.

Submissions that present research on any topic in the fields of first and second language acquisition from any theoretical perspectives will be fully considered, including: Bilingualism, Cognition & Language, Creoles & Pidgins, Dialects, Discourse and Narrative, Gesture, Hearing Impairment and Deafness, Input & Interaction, Language Disorders, Linguistic Theory, Neurolinguistics, Pragmatics, Pre-linguistic Development, Reading and Literacy, Signed Languages, Sociolinguistics, and Speech Perception & Production.

A suggested format and style for abstracts is available at:



 We are also soliciting proposals for a 90-minute symposium on a common theme on any topic likely to be of broad interest to the conference attendees. The symposium format is open, but has frequently included 2-3 speakers presenting research from differing angles on a common theme. We anticipate including two such symposia in the schedule, one being the Saturday lunchtime symposium, the other closing the conference on Sunday. Proposals should include a list of potential participants and a specification of the format, and should name at least one organizer who will be able to work with the BUCLD organizing committee in setting up the symposium and lining up participants. Submissions can be sent by email to abstract@bu.edu with "Symposium proposal" indicated in the subject line. Please limit symposium proposals to 1000 words or fewer.

 DEADLINE. Same as for abstracts, 8:00 PM EST, May 15, 2013.

 Decisions on symposia will be made by June, so that organization can begin, with the goal

of having all participants confirmed by July.


General conference information is available at:


Questions about abstracts and symposia should be sent to abstract@bu.edu

Call for papers: Countability Workshop in Düsseldorf

Abstracts are solicited for presentations which address theoretical or empirical issues (i) in the study of the mass/count distinction in the nominal domain as well as (ii) the parallel distinction(s) in the verbal domain.

Topics of particular interest include (but are not limited to):

- cognitive basis of countability, its grammatical manifestations and sources for the cross-linguistic variation in its encoding

- relations between count and non-count meanings, sort-shifting, type-shifting, and coercion

- vagueness and gradations of individuation, mess and neat mass nouns

- parallels and differences in the counting and measuring for noun and verb meanings

- corpus-based and psychological evidence for the distinction between count and non-count meanings

- computational modeling

Submission Details

Abstracts must be anonymous, no longer than 2 pages, in PDF format and sent via email to countability.ddorf.submit@gmail.com. Prospective speakers may submit abstracts for one single-authored and one co-authored paper. All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously by at least two reviewers. Abstracts should not include the authors’ names, and authors are asked to avoid self-references.

After submitting your abstract, please send a separate email to countability.ddorf.submit@gmail.com with the following information:

- Title of the talk

- Name of author(s)

- Affiliation(s)

- Address(es)

- Phone number(s)

- Email address(es)

Important dates

Abstract Submission Deadline: July 1, 2013

Notification of acceptance: July 15, 2013

Workshop: September 16-17, 2013

Invited Speakers

David Barner (University of California at San Diego)

Gennaro Chierchia (Harvard University)

Jenny Doetjes (Leiden University)

Scott Grimm (Pompeu Fabra University)

Manfred Krifka (Humboldt University and Center for General Linguistics, Berlin)

Fred Landman (Tel Aviv University)

Susan Rothstein (Bar Ilan University)

Tobias Stadtfeld (Bochum University)

Roberto Zamparelli (University of Trento)

Conference Organizers

Hana Filip (Heinrich Heine University)

Christian Horn (Heinrich Heine University)



Submission of abstracts


Stefan Keine gets Graduate School Fellowship

Congratulations to Stefan Keine who has been awarded a Graduate School Fellowship for next year.

Postdoc position at Ruhr University Bochum

The Chair of Philosophy of Language and Cognition at the Ruhr University Bochum invites applications for
The candidate should have a strong interest in questions at the interface between philosophy of language and linguistics, with a focus on the semantics and/or pragmatics of natural language. Some background in logic or formal semantics would be welcome. The successful applicant will be expected to actively contribute to an interdisciplinary research endeavor that among others involves the use of EEG methods.
The position will be filled either with a PhD candidate or a postdoc and will run until 31 December 2015. The position will be part of the international and interdisciplinary Mercator Research Group “Structures of Memory”. The main language of communication of the Research Group is English.
Depending on qualification, the stipendiary fellowship will match the net income of a
• 50% TV-L E13 position (PhD candidate, approx. 1300€/month),
• 75% TV-L E13 position (advanced PhD candidate/early postdoc, approx. 1700€/month),
• 100% TV-L E13 position (postdoc, approx. 2100€/month), respectively.
Applications should be sent electronically to jobs-mrg1phil@rub.de by June 15, 2013, and specify the name of the position and whether a PhD or postdoc stipendiary fellowship is applied for. They should include a statement of interest (not more than one page), a CV, a list of publications, copies of relevant certificates and diploma, one letter of reference and the names of two further referees. We regret that we will not be able to return any submitted material and send out negative notifications.
For further information please visit the webpage http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/phil-lang or contact Professor Markus Werning (markus.werning@rub.de) directly.