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LINGUIST List 17.3256

Thu Nov 09 2006

Calls: Language Acquisition/Norway; Cognitive Science, Phonology/USA

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.    Marit Westergaard, Workshop on Language Acquisition at GLOW 30
        2.    Eric Raimy, Precedence Relationships in Phonological Grammar

Message 1: Workshop on Language Acquisition at GLOW 30
Date: 09-Nov-2006
From: Marit Westergaard <marit.westergaardhum.uit.no>
Subject: Workshop on Language Acquisition at GLOW 30

Full Title: Workshop on Language Acquisition at GLOW 30

Date: 11-Apr-2007 - 11-Apr-2007
Location: Tromso, Norway
Contact Person: Marit Westergaard
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.hum.uit.no/glow/

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition; Syntax

Call Deadline: 01-Dec-2006

Meeting Description:

Acquisition Workshop at GLOW XXX
April 11, 2007
CASTL, University of Tromsø, Norway
Workshop title: Optionality in the Input: Children's Acquisition of Variable Word Order

Extended Deadline: 01-Dec-2006
See the call for papers at http://www.hum.uit.no/glow/

Optionality in the Input:
Children's Acquisition of Variable Word Order

Language internal optionality in word order has represented and continues to represent a challenge for generative linguistic theory. In recent years, however, it has become increasingly clear that there is very little true optionality; rather, instances of apparent language internal word order variation have been found to be governed by interpretive nuances, often related to areas such as information structure. For example, in a language such as Norwegian there are two object positions in relation to verb particles. While pronominal objects in verb particle constructions must occur to the left of the particle, DP objects may occur to the left or the right. However, there is a clear preference for definites to appear on the left of the particle, while indefinites are more likely to be found on the right.

While optionality represents a challenge for the description and analysis of adult language, it appears to be a defining characteristic of child language. For example, child languages typically exhibit a great deal of optionality as far as the inclusion of various elements is concerned. Well studied examples of this are Optional Infinitives and Null Subjects in the acquisition of Non-Null-Subject languages. Thus, optionality has received a great deal of attention in language acquisition studies. However, relatively little has been done to study how children deal with optionality in the input. The GLOW workshop on language acquisition invites abstracts that address this topic. This includes questions such as: How do children deal with word order variability in the input? Do they exhibit any preferences in such cases and what kinds of considerations influence their choices? To what extent are children sensitive to the small nuances that appear to govern adult grammars in cases of word order optionality? What, if anything, can language acquisition reveal about cases in which this kind of variation is permitted in the adult language?

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