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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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Conference Information

Full Title: Workshop on Internally Headed Relative Clauses
Location: Berlin, Germany
Start Date: 25-Oct-2012 - 27-Oct-2012
Contact: Rainer Ludwig
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/workshop_relclauses2.html
Meeting Description: Internally headed relative constructions pose a challenge for any theory of the syntax/semantics interface, as the internal head's overt position is inside the relative clause, whereas semantically it combines with material outside the relative clause. There are two major strategies to deal with such cases: One is to enrich the syntactic component of the grammar (e.g. by assuming a separate level of syntactic representation, typically called 'Logical Form', as the input to semantic interpretation). The other is to enrich the semantic component to make it deliver correct interpretations for surface syntactic structures (e.g. by assuming type-shifting operations on meanings). The ultimate goal of our research is to compare the two kinds of approaches with respect to the ease and accuracy with which they can be employed for describing and explaining the various IHRC data. A necessary first step is, however, to deepen our understanding of the phenomenon itself.

Among the particular questions we aim to pursue are the following:

- What are the distributional, configurational and interpretational restrictions on IHRC in a given language? E.g. do IHRC belong to a certain register, are they the only or most common relativization strategy, are they restricted by certain properties of the head and/or its role in the relative clause? Do they exhibit the same or a different word order than main clauses or other subordinate clauses? Is the interpretation of the head (e.g. as (in)definite) influenced or determined by the fact that it occurs in an IHRC?
- How can IHRC in a given language be analyzed in terms of one or the other aforementioned theoretical approaches?
- In which ways do the internal heads (syntactically, semantically, ...) interact with a) their host clause (the IHRC), b) their determiner or specifier (if there is any), and c) the embedding clause? E. g. does the internal head occupy a special position inside the IHRC, or the usual position that it would have in a main clause? If a quantifier combines with the IHRC or internal head, is the quantificational domain restricted by the IHRC in total, or only by the head itself? In particular, do quantifiers like 'all' and 'most' take relative-internal scope or matrix scope? Are IHRC signalled by special particles, morphemes or intonation?


Edith Aldridge
Alexander Grosu
Ken Hiraiwa
Koji Hoshi
Justin Cale Johnson
Fred Landman
Andrej Malchukov
Jae-Il Yeom

Call for Further Participants:

There still are a few slots for presentations available. Potential contributors are invited to send an abstract to:
Linguistic Subfield: General Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax
LL Issue: 23.3138

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