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Conference Information

Full Title: Challenging Reflexive Strategies

Location: Split, Croatia
Start Date: 18-Sep-2013 - 21-Sep-2013
Contact: Anna Volkova, Eric Reuland
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: The canonical binding theory of Chomsky (1981) in the beginning of the 80’s generated a wave of cross-linguistic research (both in the generative and in the functional paradigms) that brought to the front a bulk of language facts that were problematic for CBT. The list of potential problems included:

- Non-complementary distribution of anaphors and pronominals
- Optionality of reflexive marking
- Variability in the types of reflexive marking
- Languages without an overt reflexive strategy
- Logophors
- Long-distance binding
- Unified analysis of other uses of reflexive markers

This development in the field also gave a spur to approaches with a functional, semantic and cognitive basis, involving semantic classifications of predicates, prominence or thematic role hierarchies, information status, definiteness etc. The challenge was greatly inspiring for the further development of the theory of anaphora.

Current linguistic theory presents an array of approaches to the analysis of the reflexive strategies: from the pragmatic based approach of Levinson (2000) to typologically oriented works of Haspelmath (2008) and König & Gast (2008) the competition based account of Safir (2004) to LFG accounts (Dalrymple 1993, Bresnan 2000, Asudeh 1998) to HPSG accounts (Pollard & Sag 1994, Kiss 2001) to purely semantic accounts (Schlenker 2005) to accounts inspired by the Minimalist Program (Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes 2007, Rooryck & Vanden Wyngaerd 2012, Reuland 2011). The goal of our workshop is to bring together researchers working in different theoretical paradigms, typologists and language specialists to discuss natural language patterns in the reflexivity domain that do not fit theoretical accounts on the market. We would like to encourage a dialogue between linguists working on the same topic from different perspectives and critically assess the state of the field.

The essential goal of the study of the theory of language is to discover the principles that underlie all natural language grammars and to explain the possible breadth and limits of linguistic variation. We believe that the ultimate joy of linguistic research is testing the theoretical predictions against the broad range of existing languages.

Topics include, but are not restricted to, the following:

1. Descriptions of languages whose anaphoric systems are not well-studied (including but not limited to the exclusive use of verbal reflexivizing strategy, doubling of pronoun, repeating of full NPs, etc.)
2. Discussions of less described reflexivity cases that present a problem for the current approaches
3. Contrastive analysis of a set of (less familiar) data in several theoretical accounts
4. Psycholinguistic/language acquisition data (non-)supporting certain theoretical predictions
5. Logophoricity and deictic shift

Possible questions we would like to see addressed include the following (but many more can be envisioned):

a) Are there still language patterns on the market that pose a universal problem for all existing accounts?
b) What are the empirical differences between the accounts on the market? Which ones are particularly good/bad at dealing with certain groups of facts?
с) What is the correct division of labour between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics?
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Typology
LL Issue: 23.4717

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

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