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LINGUIST List 21.4693

Mon Nov 22 2010

Calls: Historical Linguistics/Japan

Editor for this issue: Amy Brunett <brunettlinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Silvia Luraghi , Diachrony of Referential Null Arguments

Message 1: Diachrony of Referential Null Arguments
Date: 22-Nov-2010
From: Silvia Luraghi <luraghiunipv.it>
Subject: Diachrony of Referential Null Arguments
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Full Title: Diachrony of Referential Null Arguments

Date: 25-Jul-2011 - 30-Jul-2011
Location: Osaka, Japan
Contact Person: Silvia Luraghi
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Jan-2011

Meeting Description:

Definite referential null arguments are apparently one of the distinctive features of non-configurational languages, see Baker (2001). Even though descriptions are available for various genetically unrelated languages, there are little if any accounts of their diachrony. Our workshop aims to bring together scholars working on different language families and on typologically different languages who are interested in diachronic changes concerning the creation or disappearance of null arguments, with a focus on null objects or other types of null arguments not coreferenced on the verb. The rise of null objects deserves further investigation. Null objects can be the result of incorporation, whereby object clitics become verb affixes (Baker 2001). Related to incorporation is the Hungarian objective conjugation, whose rise is also a possible topic of discussion. The occurrence of definite referential null objects has been observed in many ancient Indo-European languages. In spite of this, and in spite of the long documented history of these languages, even in their case historical accounts are limited, as are detailed studies of the conditions licensing null objects (Schäufele 1990 on Sanskrit; several studies have been devoted to null objects in Old Icelandic, Sigurðsson 1993). At least in Latin and possibly in Greek, null objects seem to be obligatory in coordinated sentences, unless emphasis or disambiguation are involved (this is possibly a common phenomenon connected to coordination reduction and frequent in non-Indo-European languages as well, Luraghi 2004), as well as in answers to yes/no questions (van der Wurff 1997). Descriptions of increasing use of over objects in Latin and Germanic point to increasing transitivity or emerging configurationality.


Baker, Mark (2001), ‘Configurationality and polysynthesis’, in M. Haspelmath, E. König, W. Oesterreicher, W. Raible (eds.), Language Typology and Language Universals . An International Handbook. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, vol. 2, pp. 1433-41.
Luraghi, Silvia 2004, ‘Null Objects in Latin and Greek and the Relevance of Linguistic Typology for Language Reconstruction’, in Proceedings of the 15th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, JIES Monograph 49, pp.234-256.
Schäufele, Steven (1990), Free Word-Order Syntax: the Challenge from Vedic Sanskrit to Contemporary Formal Syntactic Theory. Ph. D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sigurðsson, Halldór A. (1993), ‘Argument-drop in Old Islandic’. Lingua 89, 247-280.
Wurff, Wim van der, 1994. “Null objects and learnability: The case of Latin”, Working Papers of Holland Institute for Generative Linguistics 1/4.


20 International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Osaka 25-30 July 2011 (see http://www.ichl2011.com )

Dag Haug (University of Oslo) / Silvia Luraghi (University of Pavia)


d.t.t.haugifikk.uio.no / silvia.luraghiunipv.it

Call for Papers:

Deadline for final submission:

15 January 2011


Papers presented at the workshop should aim to assess:

a) The relation between null objects and other parameters of configurationality;
b) The relation of null objects to other null argument, in particular to null subjects;
c) The relation between null objects and the parameter of head/dependent marking
(Baker 2001);
d) Null objects and the grammaticalization of valency;
e) Incorporation and the rise of null objects.

Papers should have a diachronic orientation; research based on extensive corpora and quantitative approaches to language change are especially encouraged.

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