LINGUIST List 12.1768

Mon Jul 9 2001

Calls: Minority Linguistics, Genericity Workshop

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

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


  1. Keith Johnson, Minority Linguistics
  2. Hans-J�rgenSasse, Workshop on Genericity

Message 1: Minority Linguistics

Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 07:24:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Keith Johnson <>
Subject: Minority Linguistics

Call for abstracts

Deadline: September 30, 2001

Workshop "Minority Linguistics" 

Paulilatino (Sardinia-Italy)
December 6-8, 2001

A workshop on "minority linguistics" will take place on December 6-8
2001, at Paulilatino (Sardinia-Italy). The purpose of the workshop is
to create a European network of scholars from different branches of
linguistics who are also speakers of lesser-used languages. The main
task of this "native-linguist" network would be that of stimulating
the autonomous development of new theoretical, sociolinguistic and
didactic instruments necessary for an effective policy of preservation
of non-dominant languages. The resulting approach to this issue would
offer an insider's point of view with respect to language
preservation, while favouring also a much closer contact between
linguists and non-dominant linguistic communities in Europe.

These purposes are largely complementary to those of existing European
organisations and programs, such as EBLUL and Mercator. The main
concern of the network of "native linguists" will be that of
stimulating and supporting the non-dominant linguistic communities in
Europe in the necessary development of a "view from below" with
respect to linguistic diversity, and the related technical tools. At
the same time, contacts with similar networks outside Europe will be
sought and stimulated. The creation and maintenance of such a network
of "native" linguists, involving European citizens who speak a lesser
used language, would require a regular exchange of insights, knowledge
and experience between the linguists involved, as well as between the
linguists and their linguistic communities. This exchange of
information can be achieved, on the one hand, by means of an Internet
site (that is, a virtual workshop for "native" linguists")
specifically addressed to the problems of non-dominant languages,
where these problems would be approached in general, as well as in
language-specific terms. On the other hand, the contact between native
linguists must take place by means of (actual) workshops to be held on
a yearly basis, where linguists can meet each other in the flesh and
exchange their opinions beyond the limits imposed by the "virtual"
restrictions of the Internet.

The workshop will last for 3 days. 

"Native" and other linguists dedicated to the preservation of lesser-used 
languages operating within Europe are invited to present papers on 

 3.the reproduction and promotion of non-dominant languages; 
 5.the sociolinguistic situation typical of their languages. 

The workshop will consist of the following parts: 

 Description: broadening the empirical basis of the debate and
improving the description of non-dominant languages

The papers to be presented in this section should focus on the
practical and methodological problems related to the description of
insufficiently described languages, which have only recently been
standardised, or not at all.

 Standardisation: establishing from which point in the
variety-continuum linguistic diversity should be accepted. Is
standardisation always necessary?

In the existing and expanding context of multilingualism, non-dominant
languages can seriously compete with other languages by remaining
fundamentally the main medium to express a rather precisely defined
and concrete sort of identity. This identity ought to respect and
reflect, in as far as this is practically achievable, the natural
dialectal diversity of a linguistic community.

 Reproduction and Promotion: educating people to accept their own
difference from others, while appreciating other people's diversity

The papers to be presented in this section should concentrate on the
fact that, in the present multilingual situation, one uses a
non-dominant language almost exclusively out of free choice. A
non-dominant language can be successfully taught only if it is
successfully promoted by teachers, parents and prominent members of
the community.

 Multilingualism: towards a definition of Multilingual Competence 

The papers to be presented in this section should aim at defining
multilingualism in terms of linguistic competence, and at bridging the
gap between the mentalistic and the sociolinguistic approaches to

 Do we need a sociolinguistics of non-dominant languages? 

The papers to be presented in this section should concentrate on the
way, if any, in which the sociolinguistic situation of non-dominant
linguistic communities differs and/or interacts with the surrounding
and more general sociolinguistic context.

Abstracts should be restricted to two pages, including examples and
references. Two copies of abstracts should be submitted, one
anonymous, and one mentioning the author's name, affiliation, postal
address and e-mail address. The deadline for submission of abstracts:
September 30, 2001

Abstracts should be sent to: 

Roberto Bolognesi
Department of Linguistics
University of Groningen
Oude Kijk in `t Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands

Abstracts in e-format and requests of information should be sent to

The papers will be published in the proceedings of the
workshop. Papers can be presented in English or in any other European

For a more detailed description of the project and for the
registration form see at:

The scientific board of the workshop is the following:

Durk Gorter (Frisian-University of Amsterdam/Frisian Academy/Mercator

Tjeerd de Graaf (Frisian-University of Groningen)

Xavier Fr�as Conde (Galician-Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Patrick Sauzet (Occitan-Universit' Paris 8)

Giorgio Cadorini (Friulian-Univerzita Karlova of Prague)

Roberto Bolognesi (Sardinian-University of Groningen/Sardinian
Language Group)

Hristo Kyuchukov (Roma-University of San Francisco/Balkan Foundation 

Cenoz Iragui Jasone (Basque-University of the Basque Country)

George Jones (Welsh-Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales)

Inma Lopez Silva (Galician/Universidad de Santiago de Compostela)
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Workshop on Genericity

Date: Sun, 08 Jul 2001 11:33:09 +0200
From: Hans-J�rgenSasse <>
Subject: Workshop on Genericity


Workshop on Genericity

November 10-11, 2001

University of Cologne, Germany


The main focus is intended to lie on the linguistic realization of
genericity. On the one hand, we would like to delve into theoretical
areas which have received little attention in the past. On the other
hand, we are interested in testing, on the basis of a larger sample of
languages, well-known hypotheses about the functioning of genericity
that have been developed for a few thoroughly investigated specific
languages. We are therefore inviting both theoreticians interested in
the further development of theories about genericity as well as
linguists doing empirical work on genericity in particular languages.

So far we have envisaged the following topics (see below for more
detailed description):
(1) the relationship between generic and non-generic reference
(2) generic reference in texts
(3) generic reference in non-subjectal NPs
(4) ambiguity of generic phrases
(5) the correlation between the grammatical and the semantic type of
generic phrases
(6) the role of modality markers in genericity


� On (1): What is the relationship between reference to kinds and
reference to "real", spatio-temporally perceptible and as such
identifiable objects? Is it possible to consider one of these two types
of reference as ontologically prior, and the other as derived? In the
linguistic tradition, the view that reference to spatio-temporally
located objects has priority over reference to kinds seems to prevail.
On the other hand, certain languages seem to point to the opposite
assumption, for example, languages where kind-referring NPs exhibit the
same form as lexical stems. Put differently: can generic reference - in
relation to non-generic reference - be semantically represented in a
universally unified way or should the semantic representation of generic
reference mirror language-specific differences?
� On (2): The interpretation of generic statements does not depend on
contextual knowledge. As a rule, generic statements also make sense when
uttered in isolation. However, a significant amount of generic
statements do not occur in isolated sentences, but in texts about kinds.
In what respect do generic texts differ from texts dealing with specific
referents (e.g. in their anaphoric characteristics)? Are there any new
insights on generic reference in discourse theories (e.g. in DRT or
other models)?
� On (3): Generic phrases are usually studied in the realm of subject
NPs; occasionally object NPs are also taken into account. However,
generic NPs may - in principle - occupy any position in the sentence.
Especially in longer generic texts the syntactic realization of generic
discourse referents seems to be open. Does syntactic realization have
any impact on semantic interpretation? Are there language-specific
constraints on kind reference sensitive to the syntactic position?
� On (4): So far no language is known of that possesses specific
determiners (or similar devices) for encoding generic meaning. Thus,
generic NPs are characterized by at least one further non-generic
interpretation. What are the arguments that speak in favor of or against
the assumption that such NPs are actually ambiguous? For example, the
ambiguity of bare plurals between an indefinite-specific and a generic
interpretation in English has been called into question (e.g. by
Carlson), while the ambiguity of the definite singular between a
definite-specific interpretation and a generic one seems to be beyond
doubt. On the other hand, Chinese bare singulars, which admit both a
definite-specific and a generic interpretation, have been considered to
be non-ambiguous (e.g. by Matthews & Pacioni).
� On (5): Investigations of genericity in a range of languages (in
English but also e.g. in Hindi) have repeatedly lent support to the
hypothesis that the difference between definite and/or singular generic
NPs on the one hand and indefinite and/or plural generic phrases on the
other hand correlate with semantic differences such as the following:
definite and/or singular NPs allow reference to the kind itself, while
indefinite and/or plural NPs refer to the members of the kind. Or:
definite and/or singular NPs are used in universal generalizations,
while indefinite and/or plural NPs are used in prototypical ones. Is the
assumption of such generalizations theoretically founded and does it
hold cross-linguistically? Do so-called kind predicates (such as become
extinct) cross-linguistically exhibit restrictions with respect to the
form of generic NPs?
� On (6): In addition to the semantics and morphosyntax of generic NPs,
research on genericity has mainly centered around the semantic type of
the lexical predicate and its aspectual marking by means of grammatical
devices (e.g. as habitual). Little research has been done on questions
such as, for example, whether there are languages in which generic
interpretation is chiefly indicated by the grammatical marking of
modality on the predicate.


The workshop will occupy two full days (Saturday, 10 November and
Sunday, 11 November). Time slots for each presentation are expected to
be one hour including discussion, i.e. the paper should not exceed 45
minutes. There will be a lunch break and a dinner on each day.


We have already invited several participants for keynote papers. They
will take about a good half of the available time, so that there will be
room for up to five or six further papers. These will be selected by the
workshop organizers on the basis of submitted one-page abstracts.
Abstracts of all papers will be distributed to the participants.

There will be some space for non-presenting participants. Please contact
one of the organizers if interested.

Abstract submission deadline: August 15, 2001


Leila Behrens and Hans-J�rgen Sasse

Institut f�r Sprachwissenschaft
Universit�t zu K�ln
D-50923 K�ln
Tel.: +49-221-470 2323
Fax: +49-221-470 5947,

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue