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Conference Information

Full Title: Workshop on Differential Subject Marking and Ergativity

Short Title: DSM and Ergative Phenomena
Location: Split, Croatia
Start Date: 18-Sep-2013 - 21-Sep-2013
Contact: András Bárány
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: The ReCoS group at the University of Cambridge is organising a workshop at the 46th meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE) in September 2013 on ‘Differential Subject Marking and Ergative Phenomena’.

This workshop aims at describing and possibly clarifying the relation between differential subject marking (DSM) and ergative phenomena. While differential object marking (DOM) has received much attention for many years, research on DSM is fairly new.

It has been claimed that DSM occurs primarily in ergative languages, whereas DOM is prevalent in accusative languages. This raises the interesting question of whether it possible to consider these two systems as surface manifestations of the same deep parameter, although this generalisation does not hold across all languages.

Another issue concerns potential parallels between DSM and DOM which have not, to our knowledge, been fully explored. It is well known, for example, that DOM is closely connected with movement of the object (scrambling) in many languages (e.g. Hindi, Persian, Turkish). While there are some instances where object movement appears to give rise to DSM, it is not clear widespread this is.

A further problem concerns how the availability of valency alternations interacts with alignment systems and differential marking. It has been claimed that passives are generally found in accusative systems whereas antipassives are limited to ergative systems. It is suggested that DSM occurs as an alternative strategy to passivisation in ergative languages.

In addition to addressing whether this typology really holds, we welcome papers that discuss whether this supposed distribution might follow from functional considerations or from more abstract constraints on the computational system. Of particular interest in this regard are the parallel contexts in which diathesis and DSM occur: both typically indicate the loss of volition on the part of the agent. Whether this is a fair characterisation of either phenomenon remains an interesting question. We particularly welcome data from understudied languages that might shed light on these issues.
Linguistic Subfield: Morphology; Syntax; Typology
LL Issue: 23.4549

This is a session of the following meeting:
46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea

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