LINGUIST List 12.1041

Thu Apr 12 2001

Calls: Argument Structure, Nigerian/Sociolinguistics

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>

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  1. Peter Ackema, Role of Agreement in Argument Structure
  2. Charles Mann, Nigerian Millennium Sociolinguistics Conference

Message 1: Role of Agreement in Argument Structure

Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:11:58 +0200
From: Peter Ackema <>
Subject: Role of Agreement in Argument Structure

Final Call for Papers:

The Role of Agreement in Argument Structure

The Utrecht institute of Linguistics OTS organizes a 
workshop on the role of agreement in the syntactic
realization of argument structure, to be held on 31 August
and 1 September at Utrecht University.

Invited speakers: Artemis Alexiadou
 Mark Baker
 Eloise Jelinek

For polysynthetic languages it has been argued that overt NPs are
syntactic adjuncts and that a predicate's argument slots are satisfied
by agreement morphemes on the verb (Jelinek 1984) or pro (Baker
1996). Similarly, in the realm of pro-drop the question has been
raised whether a structural subject position filled with pro in
apparently subjectless clauses needs to be assumed or if the agreement
morphology can satisfy the EPP(Barbosa 1995, Alexiadou &
Anagnostopoulou 1998). On the other hand, it has already been
proposed for VSO languages that Agr is an incorporated clitic. In
Irish, for example, in pro drop constructions there is full agreement
on the verb, whereas this is absent when there is an overt subject
(cf. McCloskey and Hale 1984). Differences between VSO languages with
an agreement alternation and SVO languages without seem hard to
explain if Agr is argumental in both. Perhaps the opposite
perspective, where, instead of rich Agr licensing pro, poor Agr is
taken to need licensing by an overt subject (e.g. Speas 1995, Davis
2000), offers new insights here. Broadening the range of questions,
how can partial pro drop (pro drop only in some person/number/tenses)
be accounted for? What is the role of infinitival Agr (or the lack of
it) in realizing the verb's argument structure? Is there a difference
between unpronounced subjects in finite or infinite clauses
respectively ? Or if not (Borer 1989), how can the unpronounced
subject in infinitivals get its interpretation in the absence of
agreement ? Can similar issues and questions that arise with respect
to object agreement and agreement in DPs (e.g. adjectival agreement)
be attacked from similar angles ? Is there, perhaps, a general
semantic correlate to agreement morphology?

A more detailed description of the topic can be found at:

We invite abstracts for 30-minute talks on one or more of the above
topics. Particularly welcome are papers that take a comparative
and/or typological perspective (making a systematic comparison of
the effect of the form of the Agr paradigm on the realization of
arguments in e.g. polysynthetic versus configurational languages,
or in pro drop languages versus non-pro-drop languages, or in
ergative-absolutive versus nominative-accusative languages, etc.).

Speakers will be partially reimbursed for their expenses.

Anonymous abstracts of max. 2 pages, with a separate page
indicating author's name and affiliation, title of the paper, mailing
address, and e-mail address, can be submitted

by email to: (under the header 'abstract')

or by regular mail (5 copies) to: Workshop on Agreement and Argument
Structure, c/o Peter Ackema, UiL OTS, Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht,
The Netherlands.

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 30 April 2001.

Notification of acceptance/rejection by 31 May.

Organizing committee: Peter Ackema, Patrick Brandt, Maaike 
Schoorlemmer, Fred Weerman
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Message 2: Nigerian Millennium Sociolinguistics Conference

Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:46:02 -0700
From: Charles Mann <>
Subject: Nigerian Millennium Sociolinguistics Conference

********************** SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS**************************

The Nigerian Millennium Sociolinguistics Conference
(16-18 August, 2001; University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.)

This conference is being organized in the spirit and framework of the
Federal University of Surrey collaboration, and as a contribution to
academic and research promotion and revival on the African continent. The
initiators of the conference are: Dr. Charles C. Mann, School of Language,
Law & International Studies, University of Surrey, Guildford, and Dr. 'Tope
Omoniyi, School of English & Modern Languages, University of Surrey,

Aim and scope of the conference
This conference aims to bring together local and international scholars in
the field of sociolinguistics. It will provide a forum for participants to
engage on current issues of disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests
that are particularly relevant to Nigeria's historical, political,
economic, socio-cultural, educational and language contexts. Any treatment
of traditional sociolinguistic issues around the set of themes/sub-themes
below will be acceptable, including work in the area of language education
and discourse and conversational analysis. Priority will be given to papers
that are data-driven and based on actual field research/survey.

1. The impact of political alignments and realignments during forty years
of independence on ethnolinguistic identities.
2. The role of indigenous languages in national life at the turn of the
3. The intellectualization of indigenous languages in Nigeria.
4. Evolving language use in social domains and specific institutional
5. The competing roles of globalization via popular culture (e.g., American
and British cultural and linguistic influences) in fashioning language use
in Nigeria.
6. Language contact and contact varieties in Nigeria: dynamics, form,
functions and status (e.g., in relation to English).
7. Marginality and ethnicity within the Nigerian political structure (e.g.,
are there endangered languages in Nigeria?). Issues of language shift and
language maintenance and the applicability of Fishman's (1991; 2000)
Reversal Model.
8. French as an official language of Nigeria.
9. The roles of the British Council, Alliance Fran�aise and Goethe Institut
in the light of paradigm of linguistic imperialism (cf. Phillipson, 1992)
and the cultural politics of the English language (cf. Pennycook, 1994).
10. The potential of stronger sub-regional ties (e.g. West African
Parliament; single currency; etc.) in redefining multilingualism and
multilingual education in Nigeria.
11. The degree of harmony, or extent of conflict, between tradition and
modernity in the discourse of gender and generation in private and public
12. Language attitudes toward ethnic languages and English in contexts of
daily sociocommunication, language education and language policy/planning.

Participation is invited from all members of the Nigerian academia,
especially members of the Nigeria English Studies Association (NESA) and
the Nigeria Linguistics Association (NLA), as well as scholars in the
international community, whose area of interest is Nigeria or sub-Saharan
Invited Plenary Speakers
� Professor Ayo Bamgbose (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
� Professor Robert Phillipson (Roskilde University Copenhagen, Denmark)
� Professor Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (Roskilde University Copenhagen, Denmark)
� Professor Jan Blommaert (University of Ghent, Belgium) 
� Professor Nkonko Kamwangamalu (University of Natal, Durban, South Africa)

Abstracts submission
Send your abstracts, registration details (and enquiries) to either:

Dr. Segun Awonusi,
Department of English,
University of Lagos,
Akoka, Lagos,
E-mail address:

or to:

Dr. 'Tope Omoniyi,
School of English and Modern Languages,
University of Surrey Roehampton, UK.
Tel. 44-(0) 20-8392-3416
Fax: 44-(0) 20-8392-3146
E-mail address:
(Visit for copy of Conference
Registration Form.)

Deadline for submission of abstracts
Friday, 28th April, 2001.
Authors of selected abstracts will be informed shortly after the deadline.
Kindly provide an e-mail address or fax number, whenever possible, to
facilitate speedy communication.

Conference Registration & Fee
Pre-Conference registration details should be sent to the two co-ordinators
above on the Conference Registration Form. On-site registration is also

The Conference fee is: 1,000 naira (local presenters/participants); or, 
 US$30 (overseas presenters/participants).
 (Registration is free for local students, on production of valid ID.)

It is the intention of the conference co-ordinators to award a number of
scholarships (in form of a fixed sum of reimbursement) to local presenters
to cover some of their attendance costs. However, only those, whose
abstracts are selected for presentation, and whose papers (full texts) are
received by end of July, 2001, will qualify for scholarships.

It is the hope of the conference co-ordinators that a selection of papers
from the conference will be offered to an internationally prestigious
publisher (e.g., John Benjamins) for publication in book form, to appear in

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