Finiteness in South Asian Languages

Finiteness is a topic that influences and interacts with virtually every syntactic and interface property in linguistics. It deals directly with the core functional properties of a clause such as its tense, aspect and mood and with the way in which these are anchored to the outside world (anaphorically, deictically or somewhere in-between). In addition, finiteness also affects, directly or in more mediated fashion, nominal reference within a clause particularly as it pertains to the syntactic subject. Thus, issues such as the morpho-phonological (c)overtness of a subject, its case/Case and degree of syntactico-semantic anaphoricity could be seen as a function of the finiteness of the clause as a whole. South Asian languages offer fertile ground for investigation in the realm of finiteness because, as is becoming increasingly well-known, they exhibit properties that challenge much conventional wisdom on the subject. Complex predication in Bangla (Ramchand 2008 and prior), long-distance agreement (Bhatt 2005) and correlative constructions (Dayal 1991) in Hindi/Urdu, topic, focus and scrambling (Mahajan 1999, Kidwai 2000) and diachronic aspect shifts (Condoravdi and Deo 2008) in Indo-Aryan, nominative anaphors in Dravidian (Amritavalli 1984, Woolford 1999, Lidz 2004), Dravidian hybrid nominalizations with both tense and Case marking (Amritavalli and Jayaseelan 2005), serial verb constuctions in Malayalam (Jayaseelan 2004), and overt nominative, nonfinite subjects in Sinhala (Gair 2005) and Dravidian (K.P. Mohanan 1982) are only some of the challenging phenomena discussed previously. Yet, this only scratches the surface -- many languages of the Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and other families in South Asia remain under-researched and under-publicized to this day. It is the goal of this conference to bridge this gap in empirical and theoretical coverage of these phenomena.

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Meeting Location:
Tromsø, Norway

Contact Information:
Sandhya Sundaresan

Meeting Dates:
The Finiteness in South Asian Languages will be held from 09-Jun-2011 to 10-Jun-2011.

Abstract Submission Information:
Abstracts can be submitted from 20-Jan-2011 until 04-Mar-2011.

Finiteness in South Asian Languages,

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