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Conference Information

Full Title: Complementizer Agreement and Subjects

Location: Gent, Belgium
Start Date: 17-Oct-2012 - 19-Oct-2012
Contact: Will Harwood
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: GIST (Ghent University) and University of Missouri are proud to announce the 6th GIST conference on Complementizer Agreement and Subjects. This conference will consist of two workshops: the Complementizer Agreement Workshop (17 October 2012) and the Subjects Workshop (18-19 October 2012).

For our Complementizer Agreement Workshop we invited several linguists renowned for their work on this topic. The complete list can be found on our website.

Three more invited speakers will present their work during the Subjects Workshop: Anna Cardinaletti, Jim McCloskey and Dominique Sportiche, but we encourage everyone interested in presenting a paper at this workshop to submit an abstract by 1 May.

Although the notion of subject is shared across frameworks the concept is notoriously difficult to define (Keenan 1976 and much subsequent work). There is, however, a tacit consensus in the linguistics literature that subjects stand apart from other arguments, being associated with a distinct set of syntactic properties, proto-typically including the following:

- The subject is ‘uniquely’ identified: every clause has one subject
- The subject seems obligatory: non-pro drop languages employ expletive subjects where there is no lexical subject
- The subject typically agrees with the finite verb
- The subject is hierarchically the highest nominal in the clause
- Extraction of /from subjects is highly restricted (Ross 1967)
- Subjects may/must be null in imperatives and in infinitivals
- In V2 languages, subject initial V2 sentences are shown to differ from non-subject initial V2 sentences (Cardinaletti 1997; Zwart 1997a, 1997b)
- Subjects are typically topics

Further research has revealed that the subject properties listed above are not always linked to one particular position in the clause. With the articulated structures of the IP domain (Pollock 1989) came the need to distinguish subject positions (Bobaljik and Jonas 1996). Accumulating evidence led to the VP-internal subject hypothesis (Sportiche 1988; Koopman & Sportiche 1991; Kuroda 1988; Kitagawa 1986; McCloskey 1997), according to which the subject is merged in a VP-internal thematic position and moved to its canonical position, SpecIP, due to some formal requirement. The recent cartographic approach to clause structure has led to a further diversification of subject positions, such as AgrCP, SubjP, AgrP and FinP, with various implementations (Shlonsky 1994; Cardinaletti 1997, 2004; Cinque 1999, 2004; Rizzi 2004, Rizzi & Shlonsky 2005; Ledgeway 2010).
Linguistic Subfield: Syntax
LL Issue: 23.3946

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