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LINGUIST List 18.2398

Mon Aug 13 2007

Confs: General Ling/Brazil

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        1.    Leo Wetzels, Amazonian Languages, Phonology and Syntax

Message 1: Amazonian Languages, Phonology and Syntax
Date: 13-Aug-2007
From: Leo Wetzels <wlm.wetzelslet.vu.nl>
Subject: Amazonian Languages, Phonology and Syntax
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Amazonian Languages, Phonology and Syntax

Date: 03-Dec-2007 - 08-Dec-2007
Location: Manaus Amazonas, Brazil
Contact: Frantomé Pacheco
Contact Email: frantomeuol.com.br

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Meeting Description:

This conference is the first of a series of three meetings, as part of an
internationalization project between the research centers CELIA Paris, INPA
Manaus, UFAM Manaus, Leiden University, and the VU University Amsterdam. The
themes to be discussed at the first meeting are 'morpho-syntactic alignment' and
'nasal harmony'. Although the nature of the meeting is that of a seminar for
which most of the contributors are individually invited, there is space in the
program for 5 or 6 more speakers, which we hope to be able to invite as a result
of this announcement. Also, the meeting is open for students and scholars that
are interested in assisting without presenting a paper.

Conference at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil
December 3 to December 9, 2007

The Structure of the Amazonian Languages, Phonology and Grammar

Permanent Organizing Committee:

Willem Adelaar, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands
Ana Carla Bruno, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) Manaus, Brazil
Frantomé Pacheco, Dept of Anthropology Un. Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus,
Francesc Queixalos, CELIA, CNRS-IRD, Paris, France
Leo Wetzels, LPP, CNRS, Paris & Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Local Organizing committee:
Ana Carla Bruno
Frantomé Pacheco


Despite the notable increase in recent years in the number of detailed
descriptions of the languages of the South-American lowlands, the impact of the
now available knowledge of their grammars on the theoretical debate has remained
less profound than one would expect. The integration of the data that were
gathered into the theoretical discussion is urgent, since most of these
languages are threatened with extinction, and a return to the sources might only
be possible within a very limited span of time. Aside from the four bigger
linguistic families, Arawak, Karib, Tupi and Jê, this region hosts a multitude
of smaller families, as well as many isolates. This diversity is also reflected
in the existing alignment systems because, besides the classical accusative,
ergative and active types, multiple splits affect intransitivity (lexically, the
Aktionsart of verbs, syntactically, the aspect of predicates, for example) as
well as transitivity (split ergativity, differential object marking,
differential subject marking, hierarchical agreement, inverse).

In addition, the often-observed relation between clause structure and
noun-phrase structure (transitive predicate and genitive phrase, subordination
and nominalization) requires an effort of systematization that warrants serious
attention. Where comparison is possible, the comparative approach has indicated
promising trails for the understanding of diachronic and structural relations
these types and sub-types maintain with one another. Such insights might prove
useful for the exploration of linguistic domains where comparison is either
limited (small families) or impossible (isolates). It is of utmost importance
for scholars to systematically share and analyze the various hypotheses and
results produced in the recent past, in order to achieve a more in-depth
understanding of the linguistic structures relating to this part of grammar.

For information about hotels in Manaus, please contact the local organizing

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