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Conference Information

Full Title: DGfS 2014 Workshop: Demonstratives

Location: Marburg, Germany
Start Date: 05-Mar-2014 - 07-Mar-2014
Contact: Tonjes Veenstra
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Demonstratives
Organizers: Eefje Boef, Marco Coniglio, Eva Schlachter, Tonjes Veenstra (HU/SFB 632/ZAS)
March 5-7, 2014
Workshop at the annual conference of the DGfS, University of Marburg

Invited Speakers:

Ekkehard König (FRIAS)
Giuliana Giusti (Venice)

Demonstratives, as one of the few closed class categories universally present in language, are of central interest to linguistic theory. They raise important questions concerning their categorial status, their inherent featural make-up, their multi-functionality and distribution, as well as the grammaticalization processes they can take part in (cf. Diessel 2006, Himmelmann 1997). Furthermore, the study of demonstratives can shed light on the hierarchical organization of clause structure, specifically on the nominal domain and the complementizer domain (cf. Alexiadou, Haegeman & Stavrou 2007).

The main goal of this workshop is to create a platform to stimulate a structured discussion on these issues regarding the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of demonstratives. Among the many outstanding questions we hope to address are the following:

(i) Feature specification; e.g. What is the exact semantic/pragmatic and morphosyntactic feature specification of demonstratives wrt. definiteness/specificity, deixis (distal/ proximal), anaphoricity, etc.? To what extent can the features of demonstratives be underspecified?

(ii) Multi-functionality and distribution; e.g. How do we account for the use of demonstratives as (relative) pronouns, complementizers, or topic markers? Are they the same lexical items? What is the exact contribution of demonstratives in the functional part of the nominal and clausal domain?

(iii) Grammaticalization; e.g. the loss of deixis and/or anaphoricity is often assumed to play a role in the grammaticalization process from demonstratives to definite articles (cf. Oubouzar 1992, Demske 2001). Can we describe the relevant features in more detail within more fine grained models of grammaticalization contexts and/or based on historical corpora?


Alexiadou, Artemis, Haegeman, Liliane & Stavrou, Melita. 2007. Noun Phrase in the generative perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Demske, Ulrike. 2001. Merkmale und Relationen. Diachrone Studien zur Nominalphrase im Deutschen. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter (= Studia Linguistica Germanica 56).

Diessel, Holger. 2006. Demonstratives, joint attention, and the emergence of grammar. Cognitive Linguistics 17, 463-489.

Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 1997. Deiktikon, Artikel, Nominalphrase: Zur Emergenz syntaktischer Struktur. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Oubouzar, Erika. 1992. Zur Ausbildung des bestimmten Artikels im AHD. In: Desportes, Yves (ed.): Althochdeutsch. Syntax und Semantik. Akten des Lyonner Kolloquiums. Lyon: Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, 71-87.
Linguistic Subfield: Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics; Semantics; Syntax; Typology
LL Issue: 24.3188

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