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LINGUIST List 19.3639

Wed Nov 26 2008

Confs: East Scandiavian, West Scandinavian, Syntax/Iceland

Editor for this issue: Stephanie Morse <morselinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Tania Strahan, Relating to Reflexives: NORMS Workshop


Message 1: Relating to Reflexives: NORMS Workshop
Date: 25-Nov-2008
From: Tania Strahan <taniahi.is>
Subject: Relating to Reflexives: NORMS Workshop
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Relating to Reflexives: NORMS Workshop
Short Title: RtR

Date: 24-Apr-2009 - 25-Apr-2009
Location: Reykjavík, Iceland
Contact: Tania Strahan
Contact Email: relatingtoreflexivesgmail.com
Meeting URL: http://norms.uit.no/index.php?page=events

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Syntax

Language Family(ies): East Scandinavian; West Scandinavian
Meeting Description:

University of Iceland, 24-25 April 2009.
This workshop is being organised as part of NORMS research into syntactic
variation in Scandinavian. Its aim is to bring together researchers with a range
of views on reflexivisation and related aspects of grammar, including but not
limited to the role of syntactic domains, mood, tense, prominence, parsing, etc.

Relating to Reflexives, NORMS Workshop
24-25 April 2009, The University of Iceland

Plenary speakers: Professor Eric Reuland, Dr Arshia Asudeh

Strictly configurational accounts of anaphora fall short of providing an
accurate description of the distribution of local and non-local reflexives. The
following list of problems and proposals makes this very clear.

Long-distance reflexives (LDRs) are perhaps the most famous problem for purely
configurational approaches to anaphora, but the distribution of local reflexives
with object antecedents is another. The arguably most successful descriptions of
the distribution of reflexives and pronouns have at least some functional,
semantic or cognitive basis. Some of these depend on semantic classifications of
predicates, others use some sort of rankings such as hierarchies of thematic
roles, information status, definiteness or grammatical functions, each of which
can be described as some kind of prominence hierarchy.

Different kinds of 'binding' have been recognised and discussed, including
local/coargument binding, middle-distance or non-finite binding, long-distance
binding over a finite complement clause, etc. Logophoricity has also played a
major role in the discussion of LDRs, with the term sometimes used to refer to
the phenomenon of a pronoun which requires a textual antecedent, and sometimes a
reflexive that has a discourse, or perspectivising antecedent.

Reflexivisation out of non-complement clauses is very rarely recognised, but it
is becoming increasingly clear that this is not uncommon in the Scandinavian
languages (except for Icelandic).

There is a clear correlation between grammatical mood and the acceptability of
long-distance reflexivisation in Icelandic, for most speakers. This may be
related to the idea of 'conceptual connectivity', where the subjunctive mood is
an overt marker of that clause's dependence upon some higher clause for its
interpretation.

One way of ascertaining that we have a complete description of reflexives is
when we can write an algorithm that will automatically find and tag the
antecedents of reflexives with the accuracy of a human. Difficulties that remain
before we can give a satisfactory account of reflexivisation, and its place
within the referential system of a particular variety, include, but are
certainly not limited to:

The properties of complement and adjunct clauses, in order to appreciate how
this difference is relevant to LDRs in Icelandic, but not Norwegian, say.

Subjecthood and reflexivisation, since there is a strong, but not universal
tendency for antecedents of reflexives to be subjects rather than objects

Methodology, we need more innovative tools for obtaining speaker intuitions on
each of the aspects mentioned above, rather than relying merely on elicited
grammaticality judgments and our own intuitions as native speakers.

The purpose of this festival/workshop/conference is to collect ideas about the
connections between reflexives, other anaphors and other noun phrases;
reflexivisation and different kinds of prominence; and combinations of
reflexives, syntactic domains, lexical and sentential 'semantics', and parsing.
As with many topics of linguistic interest, the Scandinavian languages with
their dialects and sociolects provide a fertile ground for this kind of
comparative work.

Please see the call for papers for details on the submission of abstracts.
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