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LINGUIST List 17.3231

Tue Nov 07 2006

Calls: Computational Ling, Historical Ling, Lexicography/France

Editor for this issue: Dan Parker <danlinguistlist.org>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Susanna Bartsch, The Lexical Bases of Grammar

Message 1: The Lexical Bases of Grammar
Date: 06-Nov-2006
From: Susanna Bartsch <bartschzas.gwz-berlin.de>
Subject: The Lexical Bases of Grammar

Full Title: The Lexical Bases of Grammar

Date: 10-May-2007 - 12-May-2007
Location: Lille, France
Contact Person: Susanna Bartsch
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Lexicography

Call Deadline: 05-Dec-2006

Meeting Description:

This paper session is intended as a forum for discussion on the lexical bases of grammar from the perspectives of language development, evolution, diachrony, synchrony, as well as human and machine processing.

Please notify me about your intention to submit an abstract by November 20th, 2006.

For more details, see please the invitation and Call for Papers below.

Paper Session:

The Lexical Bases of Grammar: Issues on the Lexis-Grammar Interface

Susanna Bartsch
Centre for General Linguistics, Typology, and Universals Research

Recent Background and Invitation:

At the the 2nd International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Munich, October 5th-7th, 2006, the theme session ''Lexical Bootstrapping in Child Language Acquisition and Child Conceptual Development'' took place as one of the first events dedicated to the discussion on the central role of lexis for the whole of language development. It is planned to continue this discussion in an edited paper collection (Bartsch & Bittner, in prep.) to appear in the Cognitive Linguistics Research series.

After the success of the Lexical Bootstrapping session, we would like now to invite scholars interested in an enlarged discussion on the lexical bases of grammar from the perspectives of language development, evolution, diachrony, synchrony, as well as human and machine processing.

For this discussion, a proposal for a special session to be held at the 2nd International Conference of the Association Française de Linguistique Cognitive (AFLiCo), Lille, May 10th-12th, 2007, is currently under review.

Theoretical Background and Description:

Linguistic research has been for several decades determined by generative axioms about modularity of cognition and of linguistic domains, autonomy and primacy of syntax over lexis and the rather epiphenomenal nature of lexis and semantics.

However, over the last 2-3 decades, empirical research (especially the one done within functionalist-cognitivist frameworks) has provided mounting evidence for the notion that language cannot be properly studied from a 'syntactocentric' perspective (to use a term coined by Jackendoff 1997), i.e., without considering the interplay between linguistic domains, the interplay between lexical semantics and grammar, and the central role lexis plays therein.

For instance, from the developmental perspective, the empirical work of Elizabeth Bates and associates has been crucial for the view on the ''emergence of grammar from the lexicon'' (Bates & Goodman 1999; also see Bates, Bretherton, & Snyder 1987; and, as examples for more recent studies inspired by Bates' work, Kauschke 2000; and Bassano, Laaha, Maillochon, & Dressler 2004). This is also the idea underlying the Lexical Bootstrapping Hypothesis (LBH), i.e., the hypothesis that early lexical development, as mapping of words to referents or their conceptualisations, and even to whole propositions, is not only prior to, but also pre-requisite for the emergence of morpho-syntactic constructions, as well as, in later developmental stages, for the enhancement of other linguistic abilities (Bartsch 2006, Bartsch in prep.).

But LBH can be situated within a language-general lexicalist hypothesis in that it attributes a fundamental role to lexis over grammar (strong version), resp. a continuity or complex interplay of lexis and grammar (weak version), not only in language development, but also in evolution, diachrony, synchrony, as well as human and machine processing. The lexicalist hypothesis is in line with an increasing corpus of empirical findings, theoretical proposals and methodological approaches from the last decades, such as the following:

a) Developmental Perspective:
- lexical bootstrapping (grammar from lexis) (see studies mentioned above);
- syntactic bootstrapping (lexis from grammar) (Landau & Gleitman 1985; Lee & Naigles 2005).

b) Diachronic Perspective:
- lexico-semantic evolution shapes and determines grammaticalisation processes (Lemmens 1999; Bybee 2005);
- grammaticalisation (grammar from lexis) and lexicalisation (lexis from grammar) as complementary bidirectional processes (Brinton & Traugott 2005).

c) Synchronic Perspective:
- lexico-semantic structures constrain constructional possibilities (Lemmens 1998);
- merely methodological/terminological, but by no means ontological, differentiation between lexis and grammar (Köller 2004);
- grammar as an outcome of lexical structure in language use (Hoey 2005);
- grammatical investigation by means of the ''method of lexical exceptions'' (Beedham's 2005).

d) Human Language Processing:
- interplay of ''lexical and structural effects'' in infant speech perception (Höhle, Schmitz, Santelmann, & Weissenborn, 2006 to appear);
- ''lexical and referential influences'' in sentence processing by humans (Kidd & Bavin 2005).

e) Computer Modeling:
- grammar as an outcome of lexical structure in connectionist modeling of language development (Howell & Becker under review);
- ''coevolution of lexicon and syntax'' in connectionist modelling of language evolution (phylogeny) (Gong & Wang 2005).

These and other studies have repeatedly confirmed Jackendoff's view of ''syntactocentrism'' as a ''scientific mistake'' (Jackendoff 2003: 654), as ''just an assumption that itself was partly a product of historical accident'' (Jackendoff 1997: 19), even though Jackendoff's motivations and goals are somewhat different from the ones to be pursued in this theme session.

This special session is intended as a forum for discussion on the general lexicalist theory of language in its strong and weak versions, from the perspectives just mentioned.

The individual contributions should focus on the following general questions (for instance, as discussed in the studies mentioned above):

1) How, concerning which aspects, and to which extent are grammatical categories and structures shaped and determined by lexico-semantic categories and structures (lexicalist view)?

2) How, concerning which aspects, and to which extent are lexico-semantic categories and structures shaped and determined by grammatical categories and structures ('syntactocentric' view)?

3) Are the lexicalist and the 'syntactocentric' view compatible with each other? And if so, how, concerning which aspects, and to which extent?

The session is intended to have at least one contribution focusing on aspects of one of these areas:
- child language development;
- language change;
- language evolution;
- synchrony;
- human language processing;
- machine language processing.

Papers combining one of these areas with computer modeling or neurolinguistic investigations, as well as offering a survey on the research relevant for their respective areas are especially encouraged. The papers might focus on the researcher's original empirical research, on theoretical synthesising reflexions reviewing a corpus of empirical research, as well as on methodologies.

The papers will be 20 minutes for presentation plus 10 minutes for discussion. In addition, one slot (30 minutes) at the end of the session will be reserved to a general discussion.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission:

Please send your abstracts according to the following specifications:
- detailed abstracts (about 1000 words) plus complete list of references and, where it applies, tables, diagrams, and the like;
- including your name, affiliation, and e-mail address;
- indicating the equipment needed (lap-top, digital projector, over-head projector, other);
- paper size: A4;
- font: Times New Roman 12 pt;
- all margins: 3 cm;
- space between lines: simple space;
- space between paragraphs: 6 pt;
- in English or French;
- as doc or rtf file;
- as e-mail attachment only;
- to my e-mail address: bartschzas.gwz-berlin.de.

Important Dates:

- deadline for abstract submission: December 5th, 2006
- acceptance notification: December 20th, 2006
- deadline for sending ppt presentations in advance: May 7th, 2007
- registration & welcome reception: May 9th, 2007, from 17h00
- conference: May 10th-12th, 2007


We intend to check the possibility of publishing an edited collection with the presented papers.


Bartsch, S. (2006). Introducing and situating the lexical bootstrapping hypothesis (LBH) in theories of language and language development. Paper presented at 2nd International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association (GCLA), Munich, October 5-7, 2006.

Bartsch, S. (in prep.). Introducing and situating the lexical bootstrapping hypothesis (LBH) in theories of language and language development. Introductory chapter for Bartsch & Bittner (ed.) (in prep.).

Bartsch, S. & Bittner, D. (eds.) (in prep.). Lexical Bootstrapping in Child Language Development. Cognitive Linguistics Research series. Mouton de Gruyter.

Bassano, D., Laaha, S., Maillochon, I., & Dressler, W. U. (2004). Early acquisition of verb grammar and lexical development: Evidence from periphrastic constructions in French and Austrian German. First Language, 24(1), pp. 33-70.

Bates, E., Bretherton, I., & Snyder, L. (1988). From First Words to Grammar: Individual Differences and Dissociable Mechanisms. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Bates, E., & Goodman, J. C. (1999). On the emergence of grammar from the lexicon. In B. MacWhinney (Ed.), The Emergence of Language (pp. 29-79). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Beedham, C. (2005). Language and meaning: The structural creation of reality. Studies in functional and structural linguistics, 55. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Brinton, L. J., & Traugott, E. Closs. (2005). Lexicalization and language change. Cambridge UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bybee, J. L. (2005). Implications of grammaticalization for a theory of language. Paper presented at the 10th International Congress of the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), Berlin, July 25-29, 2005.

Gong, T. & Wang, W. S.-Y. (2005). Computational modelling on language emergence: A coevolution model of lexicon, syntax and social structure. Language and Linguistics, 6(1), pp. 1-42.

Höhle, B., Schmitz, M., Santelmann, L. M., & Weissenborn, J. (2006, to appear). The recognition of discontinuous verbal dependencies by German 19-month-olds: Evidence for lexical and structural influences on children's early processing capacities. Language and Language Development.

Hoey, M. (2005). Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language. London: Routledge.

Howell, S. R., & Becker, S. (under review). Grammar from the lexicon: Evidence from neural network simulations of language acquisition. Language and Speech.

Jackendoff, R. (1997). The architecture of the language faculty. MIT Press.

Jackendoff, R. (2003).Précis of Foundations of language: Brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 651-707.

Kauschke, Christina (2000): Der Erwerb des frühkindlichen Lexikons. Eine empirische Studie zur Entwicklung des Wortschatzes im Deutschen. Tübingen: Narr.

Kidd, E. & Bavin, E. (2005). Lexical and referential influences on on-line sentence processing: A comparison of school-agend and adults. IASCL Conferene, Berlin, July 2005.

Köller, W. (2004). Perspektivität und Sprache: Zur Struktur von Objektivierungsformen in Bildern, im Denken und in der Sprache. Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Landau, B., & Gleitman, L. R. (1985). Language and experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lee, J. N. & Naigles, L. R. (2005). The input to verb learning in Mandarin Chinese: A role for syntactic bootstrapping. Developmental Psychology, 41(3), pp. 529-540.

Lemmens, M. (1998) Lexical Perspectives on Transitivity and Ergativity. Causative Constructions in English. [Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 166] Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, .

Lemmens, M. (1999). Diachronic perspectives on lexical and constructional interdependency in English, 6th ICLC, Stockholm, Sweden.

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