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LINGUIST List 21.3647

Thu Sep 16 2010

Calls: Historical Ling, Syntax/Japan

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Jóhanna Barðdal, Reconstructing Syntax

Message 1: Reconstructing Syntax
Date: 14-Sep-2010
From: Jóhanna Barðdal <johanna.barddaluib.no>
Subject: Reconstructing Syntax
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Full Title: Reconstructing Syntax

Date: 25-Jul-2011 - 30-Jul-2011
Location: Osaka, Japan
Contact Person: Jóhanna Barðdal
Meeting Email: johanna.barddaluib.no
Web Site: http://org.uib.no/iecastp/IECASTP/Workshop8.htm

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 15-Nov-2010

Meeting Description:

Historical-comparative reconstruction has traditionally been focused on
lexical, morphological and phonological comparisons, while syntactic
reconstruction has either been systematically left unattended, regarded as
fruitless or uninteresting, or even rebuked (cf. Watkins 1964, Jeffers 1976,
Lightfoot 1979, 2006, Harrison 2003, Pires & Thomason 2008, Mengden
2008, inter alia). The reason for this is that syntactic structures have been
regarded as fundamentally different from, for instance, morphological
structures, in several respects. That is, syntactic structures are larger and
more complex units than morphological units. Semantically they have not
been regarded on par with morphological units either, in that their meaning
is regarded as the sum of the meaning of the lexical parts that instantiate
them, and because of this semantic compositionality they have not been
regarded as being arbitrary form-meaning correspondences like words. It
has also been argued in the literature that syntactic structures are not
inherited in the same way as the vocabulary (Lightfoot 1979 and later work),
that there is no cognate material to compare when comparing sentences
across daughter languages (Jeffers 1976), that there is no regularity of
syntactic change, as opposed to the regularity of phonological change
(Lightfoot 2002, Pires & Thomason 2008), and that there is no arbitrariness
found in syntax (Harrison 2003), all of which render syntactic reconstruction
fundamentally different from phonological reconstruction.

Recent work within historical-comparative syntax takes issue with this view
of syntactic reconstruction (Kikusawa 2003, Harris 2008, Bauern 2008,
Barðdal & Eythórsson 2009, Barðdal 2010), arguing that the concepts of
'cognate status,' 'arbitrariness' and 'regularity' are non-problematic for
syntactic reconstruction. This is so, first, because cognates are also found
in syntax (Kikusawa 2003, Barðdal & Eythórsson 2009, Barðdal 2010).
Second, because the arbitrariness requirement is simply not needed in
syntax, as its role is first and foremost to aid in deciding on genetic
relatedness, which is usually not an issue when doing syntactic
reconstruction (Harrison 2003, Barðdal & Eythórsson 2009, Barðdal 2010).
And, third, because a) the sound laws are only regular by definition
(Hoenigswald 1987), and b) the sound laws are basically stand-ins for a
similarity metric when deciding upon cognate status (Harrison 2003).

Please see http://org.uib.no/iecastp/IECASTP/Workshop8.htm for complete
list of references.

Call For Papers

This ICHL workshop aims at accommodating contributions including, but not
limited to, the following:

- The fundamental issues of reconstruction in general and syntactic
reconstruction in particular
- Individual case studies of syntactic reconstruction from different languages
and language families
- A comparison of how different theoretical frameworks may contribute to
syntactic reconstruction (see, for instance, recent claims by Barðdal &
Eythórsson 2009 and Barðdal 2010 that Construction Grammar is more
easily extendible to syntactic reconstruction than other frameworks, due to
the basic status of form-meaning/function pairings in that framework. And
that there is a natural leap from synchronic form-meaning pairings to
historical reconstruction, based on form-meaning pairings).

Please send your abstracts of 500 words or less to Jóhanna Barðdal
(Johanna.Barddaluib.no), no later than November 15th 2010, preferably
in pdf-format. A response on abstracts will be sent out on December 15th
2010.

References:

Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2010. Construction-Based Historical-Comparative
Reconstruction. To appear in Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar.
Eds. Graeme Trousdale & Thomas Hoffmann. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.

Barðdal, Jóhanna & Thórhallur Eythórsson. 2010. Reconstructing Syntax:
Construction Grammar and the Comparative Method. To appear in Sign-
Based Construction Grammar. Eds. Hans C. Boas & Ivan A. Sag. Stanford:
CSLI Publications.

Bowern, Claire. 2008. Syntactic Change and Syntactic Reconstruction in
Generative Grammar. In Principles of Syntactic Reconstruction. Eds. Gisela
Ferraresi & Maria Goldbach, 187-216. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ferraresi, Gisella & Maria Goldbach (eds.). 2008. Principles of Syntactic
Reconstruction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Harris, Alice C. 2008. Reconstruction in Syntax: Reconstruction of Patterns.
In Principles of Syntactic Reconstruction. Eds. Gisela Ferraresi & Maria
Goldbach, 73-95. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Harrison, S. P. 2003. On the Limits of the Comparative Method. In The
Handbook of Historical Linguistics, eds. B. D. Joseph & R. D. Janda, 343-
368. Oxford: Blackwell.

Hoenigswald, H. M. 1987. The Annus Mirabilis 1876 and Posterity.
Transactions of the Philological Society 76(1): 17-35.

Jeffers, Robert J. 1976. Syntactic Change and Syntactic Reconstruction. In
Current Progress in Historical Linguistics: Proceedings of the Second
International Conference on Historical Linguistics, ed. William M. Christie,
Jr., 1-15, Amsterdam.

Kikusawa, Ritsuko. 2003. The Development of Some Indonesian Pronominal
Systems. Historical Linguistics 2001: Selected Papers from the 15th
International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Melbourne, 13-17 August
2001, eds. Barry J. Blake, Kate Burridge & Jo Taylor, 237-268. Amsterdam:
John Benjamins.

Lightfoot, David. 1979. Principles of Diachronic Syntax. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Lightfoot, David W. 2002. Myths and the Prehistory of Grammars. Journal of
Linguistics 38(1): 113-136.

Lightfoot, David. 2006. How New Languages Emerge. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Mengden, Ferdinand von. 2008. Reconstructing Complex Structures: A
Typological Perspective. In Principles of Syntactic Reconstruction. Eds.
Gisela Ferraresi & Maria Goldbach, 97-119. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Pires, Acrisio & Sarah G. Thomason. 2008. How Much Syntactic
Reconstruction is Possible? In Principles of Syntactic Reconstruction. Eds.
Gisela Ferraresi & Maria Goldbach, 27-72. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Watkins, Calvert. 1964. Preliminaries to the reconstruction of Indo-European
sentence structure. In Proceedings of the IX International Congress of
Linguists, ed. H.G. Lunt, 1035-1045. The Hague: Mouton.
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