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Conference Information

Full Title: Constructional & Lexical Semantic Approaches to Russian

Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Start Date: 12-Sep-2013 - 14-Sep-2013
Contact: Sofia Oskolskaya
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: Like the first two conferences in the series (March 12-14, 2009 and March 24-26, 2011), this third meeting will focus on the issues of Russian syntax. Its central theme is the relation between formal properties of various syntactic constructions in Russian and their semantic, pragmatic and discourse properties. Participants are encouraged to discuss not only regular syntactic patterns, but also ‘marginal’ types of constructions that are often at (or beyond) the fringes of syntactic description and offer a challenge to theoretical understanding.

Inquiry into the syntax of Russian has long been associated with the study of semantic and pragmatic properties of syntactic units. Simplifying somewhat, two types of approach have emerged in the study of complex syntactic units: ‘bottom-up’ (‘lexical semantic approach’) and ‘top-down’ (‘constructional approach’). The lexical semantic approach takes as its starting point combinatorial potential of individual lexemes; in particular, the distribution of syntactic patterns is often claimed to reflect subtleties of lexical semantics (cf. the work by Yurij D. Apresjan and the Moscow Semantic School in general). According to this approach, semantic and syntactic properties of complex constructions are derivable from semantic and combinatorial properties of their component parts.

The central unit in the constructional approach is a construction - a complex form-meaning pairing for which semantic and syntactic features are not predictable from the properties of the component parts. The primary task in the investigation of a construction is to establish its syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties as those of an independent discourse unit, while its component parts are generally analyzed on the basis of the contribution they make to the whole. Within ‘Western’ linguistic tradition, this type of approach is typical of various kinds of Construction grammars (Ch. Fillmore, A. Goldberg, etc.); some studies within Russian traditional syntax are based on similar (though usually implicit) theoretical assumptions.

Invited Speakers:

Stephen Dickey (University of Kansas)
Dagmar Divjak (University of Sheffield)
Tore Nesset (University of Tromso)
Jakov Georgievich Testelets (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow)
Elena Vladimirovna Uryson (Russian Language Institute, RAS, Moscow)
Maria Dmitrievna Voeikova (Institute for Linguistic Studies, RAS, St. Petersburg)

Organizing Committee:

Sofia Oskolskaya
Maria Ovsjannikova
Sergey Say
Linguistic Subfield: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: Russian
LL Issue: 24.1554

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