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Conference Information

Full Title: DGfS 2015 - AG 5: Co- and Subordination in German and Other Languages

Short Title: DGfS 2015 - AG5
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Start Date: 04-Mar-2015 - 06-Mar-2015
Contact: Ingo Reich
Meeting Email: click here to access email
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Meeting Description: The workshop 'Co- and Subordination in German and Other Languages' (AG 5) is organised as part of the 37. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft / Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) 'Grammatische Modellierung und sprachliche Verschiedenheit', to be held at the University of Leipzig, Germany, March 4-6, 2015.

Invited Speakers:

Marga Reis (Universität Tübingen)
Markus Steinbach / Mailin Antomo (Universität Göttingen)

In recent years, research on coordination and subordination saw a lively debate and substantial empirical progress in the field of non-canonical complex sentences. In particular alternating constructions like weil-V-final vs. weil-V2, obwohl-V-final vs. obwohl-V2, V-final vs. V1-conditionals , V-final vs. V2-relatives symmetric vs. asymmetric coordination or standard vs. pseudo-conditionals have been in the focus of recent research. This empirical progress is well documented in recent collections like Ehrich et al. (2009) and Meibauer et al. (2013).

While empirical progress was in fact substantial, the theoretical concepts to model those properties are still rather poorly understood and somewhat vague. From a semantic point of view, for example, the concept of assertoric force that is often taken to correlate with V2-alternatives needs to be sharpened and delineated from other relevant concepts like presupposition or backgrounding. And from a syntactic point of view, it is still rather unclear how to precisely model the different kinds of non-canonical complex sentences. Even though first steps have been undertaken, it seems promising to us to start from recent empirical discussions and contrast precise analyses in different frameworks like minimalism, HPSG, LFG, construction grammar etc.

When thinking about alternating constructions, one question that needs to be addressed is how this alternation came about. Has one alternative emerged from the other? If so, what are the reasons for that? Is the functional differentiation a trigger or a consequence of the emergence of alternatives? This is particularly interesting in the ongoing debate about the emergence of hypotactic structures out of paratactic structures and the alleged reverse development of the loss of hypotactic structures.

Also, recent research showed a strong focus on German data. In this AG, however, we would like to widen the perspective and to ask, to what extent other languages show comparable variation, comparable alternating constructions, and whether these constructions show similar syntactic, semantic and pragmatic behavior. We invite typological as well as diachronic papers, and are also interested in questions of L1 acquisition.

A final question we want to discuss in this AG concerns the use of such constructions rather than their theoretic modeling or typological variation: Why do languages provide alternating constructions to begin with? Do they in fact differ in their (pragmatic) functionality? Or do we have to take psycholinguistic considerations into account like the processing of old and new information or the 'uniform information density hypothesis'?


Ehrich et al. (Hgg.) (2009). Koordination und Subordination im Deutschen. Linguistische Berichte, Sonderheft 16. Hamburg: Buske.
Meibauer et al. (Hgg.) (2013). Satztypen des Deutschen. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Typology
LL Issue: 25.3123

This is a session of the following meeting:
Annual Meeting 2015 of DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft)

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