LINGUIST List 11.699

Tue Mar 28 2000

Calls: Persistent Conversation, Relative Clause

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Susan Herring, Persistent Conversation - DEADLINE EXTENDED
  2. Susan Rothstein, The Syntax and Semantics of Relative Clause Constructions

Message 1: Persistent Conversation - DEADLINE EXTENDED

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 01:19:37 -0600 (CST)
From: Susan Herring <>
Subject: Persistent Conversation - DEADLINE EXTENDED

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		Part of the Digital Documents Track of the
	Hawai'i International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS)
		 Maui, Hawai'i, January 3-6, 2001


What:	Minitrack and Workshop on 'Persistent Conversation' (e.g. 
	email, MUDs, IRC, etc.)
Who:	Designers and researchers from CMC, HCI, the social sciences, 
	the humanities, etc.
Dates:	Abstract submission - *April 20, 2000* (note new deadline); 
	Paper submission - June 15
Chairs:	Thomas Erickson, IBM T.J. Watson Research Labs (
	Susan Herring, Program in Linguistics, University of Texas at 
	Arlington (


This minitrack and workshop will bring designers and researchers
together to explore persistent conversation, the transposition of
ordinarily ephemeral conversation into the potentially persistent
digital medium. The phenomena of interest include human-to-human
interactions carried out using email, mailing lists, news groups,
bulletin board systems, textual and graphic MUDs, chat clients,
structured conversation systems, document annotation systems, etc.
Computer-mediated conversations blend characteristics of oral
conversation with those of written text: they may be synchronous or
asynchronous; their audience may be small or vast; they may be highly
structured or almost amorphous; etc. The persistence of such
conversations gives them the potential to be searched, browsed,
replayed, annotated, visualized, restructured, and recontextualized,
thus opening the door to a variety of new uses and practices.

The particular aim of the minitrack and workshop is to bring together
researchers who analyze existing computer-mediated conversational
practices and sites, with designers who propose, implement, or deploy
new types of conversational systems. By bringing together participants
from such diverse areas as anthropology, computer-mediated
communication, HCI, interaction design, linguistics, psychology,
rhetoric, sociology, and the like, we hope that the work of each may
inform the others, suggesting new questions, methods, perspectives,
and design approaches.


We are seeking papers that address one or both of the following two 
general areas:

1. UNDERSTANDING PRACTICE. The burgeoning popularity of the internet 
(and intranets) provides an opportunity to study and characterize new 
forms of conversational practice. Questions of interest range from 
how various features of conversations (e.g., turn-taking, topic 
organization, expression of paralinguistic information) have adapted 
in response to the digital medium, to new roles played by persistent 
conversation in domains such as education, business, and entertainment.

2. DESIGN. Digital systems do not support conversation well: it is 
difficult to converse with grace, clarity, depth and coherence over 
networks. But this need not remain the case. To this end, we welcome 
analyses of existing systems as well as designs for new systems which 
better support conversation. Also of interest are inquiries into how 
participants design their own conversations within the digital medium 
- that is, how they make use of system features to create, structure, 
and regulate their discourse.

Ideally, papers should also address the implications of their 
analysis or design for one or more of the following areas:

a) ANALYTICAL TOOLS. The effort to understand practice can benefit 
from an array of analytical tools and methods. Such tools may be 
adapted from existing disciplinary practices, or they may be 
innovated to analyze the unique properties of persistent 
conversation. One goal of this minitrack is to gain a fuller 
understanding of the kinds of insights offered by different 
analytical approaches to persistent conversation.

b) SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS. Even as the persistence of digital 
conversation suggests intriguing new applications, it also raises 
troubling issues of privacy, authenticity, and authority. At the same 
time, it has beneficial effects ranging from making a community's 
discourse more accessible to non-native speakers, to laying the 
foundations for mutual support and community in distributed groups. 
Authors are encouraged to reflect on the social implications of their 
observations, analyses, and designs.

c) HISTORICAL PARALLELS. From the constructed dialogs of Plato to 
the epistolary exchanges of the eighteenth century literati, 
persistent conversation is not without precedent. How might earlier 
practices help us understand the new practices evolving in the 
digital medium? How might they help us design new systems? What 
perspectives do they offer on the social impacts (present and future) 
of persistent conversation?


The minitrack will be preceded by a half-day workshop on Tuesday 
morning. The workshop will provide a background for the sessions and 
set the stage for a dialog between researchers and designers that 
will continue during the minitrack. The minitrack co-chairs will 
select in advance a publicly accessible CMC site, which each author 
will be asked to analyze, critique, redesign, or otherwise examine 
using their disciplinary tools and techniques before the workshop 
convenes; the workshop will include presentations and discussions of 
the participants' examinations of the site and its content.


April 20:	~300 word abstracts due*
April 24: 	Receive feedback on abstracts
June 15: 	Papers (up to 10 pages in length) due
Aug. 31: 	Paper accept /conditional accept /reject and 
		reviewer feedback
Sept. 30: 	Camera-ready copy due
Jan. 3-6, '01:	Conference

* Note: Early submission of abstracts is encouraged. Abstracts 
submitted by April 1 will receive feedback by April 8.


* Submit an abstract of your proposed paper via email to Tom 
Erickson and Susan Herring (,
* We'll send you feedback on the suitability of your abstract, and 
paper submission instructions.


* On the Workshop and Minitrack:
* For a look at papers from the first minitrack, see

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Message 2: The Syntax and Semantics of Relative Clause Constructions

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 09:48:49 +0200
From: Susan Rothstein <>
Subject: The Syntax and Semantics of Relative Clause Constructions



JUNE 14-16 2000


In the context of our research project on 'A tripartite typology of relative
clause constructions', we are organizing, with the financial support of the
Israel Science Foundations, a workshop on The Syntax and semantics of
relative clause constructions, fron june 14 till june 16, 2000.
Presentations will be given by the following people:
 Sigrid Beck (UConn)
 Maria Bittner (Rutgers)
 Edit Doron (Jerusalem)
 Alexander Grosu (Tel Aviv)
 James Huang (Irvine) [tentative]
 Pauline Jacobson (Brown)
 Chris Kennedy (Northwestern)
 Barbara Partee (UMass)
 Georges Rebuschi (Paris)
 Henk van Riemsdijk (Tilburg)
 Susan Rothstein (Bar-Ilan)
 Ivan Sag (Stanford)
 Arnim von Stechow (Tuebingen)

We have space at the workshop for a few (ca 4) contributed papers, and for
that reason we are announcing now a (small) call for papers. A description
of what we have in mind as topics of the workshop follows below.

If you want to contribute a paper to the workshop, please send an abstract
of not more than two pages by regular mail to:
 Fred Landman
 Linguistics Department
 Tel Aviv University
 69978 Tel Aviv
submissions by email should be sent to Shai Cohen at:



The context of the workshop is our ongoing research project on different
aspects of the syntax and semantics relative clause constructions.
Our work has focussed on a variety of linguistic phenomena that seem to
challenge the classical (semantic) bipartition of relative clauses into
restrictive and appositive relative clauses.

In our paper in Natural Language Semantics (Grosu and Landman 1998),
we discuss the semantics class of 'maximalizing relatives.' We argue
that there is a linguistically coherent class of maximalizing
relatives whose properties differ substantially from restrictive or
appositive relative clauses. Maximalizing relatives form a
linguistically coherent class, because they share a battery of
characteristic linguistic features (like their interaction with
(in)definiteness phenomena), and because these characteristic features
are cross-linguistically stable. In our paper, and in our research
since, we have explored the relation between the phenomenon of
maximalization and a cross linguistic variety of relative clause
constructions like degree relatives, different kinds of free
relatives, internally headed relatives, and correlatives. Topics we
would be interested in seeing addressed at the workshop:

1. Our paper focusses on maximality in degree relatives. We are much
interested in maximality phenomena in constructions other than degree
constructions (for instance, in the paper we mention free relatives
and kind constructions).

2. The basic facts about degree relatives relate to (in)definiteness
in two ways: first, they occur when the relativization gap is in a
context of indefiniteness; second, properties internal to the relative
clauses force the selection of basically definite determiners in the
noun phrase that contains the relative clause. We are interested in
other constructions where we find similar determiner selection (we
mention similar facts for event relatives from Rothstein 1995 in the
paper). We are much interested in getting more clarity on the
relation between maximalization and the general analysis of
(in)definiteness effects.

3. The balance between unity and diversity. While we have been
arguing for maximalizing relatives as a coherent semantic class, this
does not necessarily mean that we have to give up the idea that there
is a shared syntactic and/or semantic mechanism of relativization,
which is common to all constructions. It does mean that we have to
develop a broader or deeper theory about the cross-linguistic forms in
which a mechanism like, say, variable binding, is incorporated in the
grammar. We would like to get a deeper understanding of what unifies
and divides different kinds of relative clause constructions, like the
different kinds of free relatives (standard, transparant,
pseudo-cleft, infinitival/subjunctive), the syntactic/semantic
subtypes of internally-headed relatives, relatives with multiple
heads, correlatives, and others.

4. Relatives are, of course, generally treated as part of a general
class of clauses that can occur as noun or noun phrase modifiers, like
adjectives and prepositional phrases. We are interested in maybe less
well trodden similarities between the different types of elements in
this general class. That is, while there is quite some study of the
variety of ways in which adjectives can be non-intersective
(eg. intensional adjectives), this discussion is rarely extended to
noun phrase modifiers which are prepositional phrases or relative
clauses (for instance, intensionality phenomena for relative clauses,
which seem to exist as well, are much understudied). Vice versa,
while various aspects of appositive interpretations have been studied
for relative clauses, this discussion is rarely extended to adjectives
(and appositive interpretations exist there too). Similarly, we are
interested in the extent to which syntactic and semantic properties of
nominal modifiers carry over to comparable modifiers of non-nominal
categories. In other words, we are interested in how relatives as
modifiers fit in the general class of noun phrase modifers.

While we are obviously interested in papers that relate to the issues
mentioned here, we are inclined to take 'relate' in a broad sense.
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