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LINGUIST List 21.782

Mon Feb 15 2010

Calls: Ling Theories, Semantics/Finland

Editor for this issue: Kate Wu <katelinguistlist.org>

LINGUIST is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new feature: Easy Abstracts! Easy Abs is a free abstract submission and review facility designed to help conference organizers and reviewers accept and process abstracts online. Just go to: http://www.linguistlist.org/confcustom, and begin your conference customization process today! With Easy Abstracts, submission and review will be as easy as 1-2-3!
        1.    Antti Arppe, Re-thinking Synonymy

Message 1: Re-thinking Synonymy
Date: 13-Feb-2010
From: Antti Arppe <antti.arppehelsinki.fi>
Subject: Re-thinking Synonymy
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Full Title: Re-thinking Synonymy

Date: 28-Oct-2010 - 30-Oct-2010
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Contact Person: Seppo Kittilä
Meeting Email: synonymy-2010helsinki.fi
Web Site: http://www.linguistics.fi/synonymy/

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Semantics

Call Deadline: 16-Apr-2010

Meeting Description:

The Linguistic Association of Finland (SKY ry.) in co-operation with the
Department of General Linguistics at the University of Helsinki organize a
Conference on 'Re-thinking Synonymy', on October 28-30, 2010, at the premises of
the University of Helsinki.

Confirmed invited speakers:
Dirk Geeraerts (University of Leuven)
Martin Haspelmath (MPI, Leipzig)
Beth Levin (Stanford University)

For more information, see:

Call for Papers

(Please note the DL for abstracts is APRIL 16, 2010!)

Traditionally, synonymy refers to a situation where a language has two (or more)
linguistic forms for expressing one meaning. Synonymy is by no means uncommon in
languages, exemplified also by the large number of synonym dictionaries and
thesauri. However, it is important to note that the existence or lack of
synonymy is largely a matter of definition. On the one hand, if we define
synonymy as (very close) semantic similarity or (essentially) identical
reference, it definitely exists to some extent in all languages. On the other
hand, if we confine the notion to total synonymy (comprising not only reference,
but also, for example, stylistic and sociolinguistic factors as well as
contextual preferences), it becomes less evident whether synonymy really exists.

Many theories of grammar (such as Cognitive Grammar and some versions of
Construction Grammar) do not acknowledge the concept of synonymy at all.
Synonymy seems to militate against the expected relation of meaning and form: a
difference in form should always and necessarily correspond to a difference in
meaning. However, within these theories (and within linguistics in general), a
recurring topic of study is lexical, constructional, functional and formal
similarity. In addition, current research seems to steer clear of synonymy(and
sameness), but at the same time puts a great deal of emphasis on similarities,
e.g. when and why two or more constructions with seemingly similar meanings are
used as each other's alternatives. Nevertheless, where does the boundary lie
between the two, i.e. when do we cross over from synonymy to mere similarity, or
vice versa, and, moreover, how different can two constructions or expressions be
and yet still be considered similar in terms of their meaning/function? Do all
synonymous expressions share a common conceptual (abstract) schema? What is the
relation between these schemas and lexical (i.e. 'traditional') synonymy?

The idea of the proposed symposium is to challenge linguists both to re-think
the concept of synonymy and sameness, as opposed to the similarity, of
linguistic expressions and to approach the concept of synonymy from a broader
perspective. What we propose is that synonymy is best seen as sameness or
similarity of forms and functions, not only as a notion related to lexical
semantics. For example, many languages, such as Finnish and Estonian, allow the
expression of location through both cases and adpositions, and many languages
have both intransitive and transitive reflexive forms; these expressions may be
identical in meaning in certain contexts, but upon closer examination they also
display differences.

In brief: Does a difference in form always correspond to a difference in
meaning/function? If so, is there any justification for the validity of the
notion of synonymy in linguistic description? If synonymy really exists on some
level, do we need to broaden the concept of synonymy and if so, how? What does
the way that synonymy has been studied tell us about language and, perhaps as
interestingly, about linguistics?

Possible topics for talks include (but are not restricted to) the following:

- The role of synonymy in linguistic theory
- Corpus-based studies of (lexical/functional) synonymy
- Psycholinguistic studies of synonymy/processing of synonymy
- Seemingly synonymous/similar categories across languages (e.g. dative,
reflexive, person, tense, deixis etc.), comparability of functions across languages
- The role of synonymy in lexical typology: do 'identical' lexemes in different
languages express identical/similar meanings? Translatability of lexemes
- The development of synonymy; competition of synonymous forms in
- Synonymy in different theories of grammar
- The relation between lexical ('traditional') synonymy and functional synonymy
- Potential differences between sameness and similarity
- What does synonymy (at any level/in any form) reveal about language?
- What motivates the use of seemingly synonymous forms? Context, meaning,
sociolinguistic factors, disambiguation, verbal semantics etc.
- Synonymy of constructions within and across languages
- Semantic vs. pragmatic synonymy

The deadline for submission of abstracts (in English; max 500 words excluding
data, tables and references) is April 16, 2010. Please submit your abstract by
e-mail to the address of the organizing committee: synonymy-2010/at/helsinki.fi.

Send your abstract as attachment to an e-mail message (in both .pdf and .doc
formats). Please indicate clearly whether your abstract is intended as a poster
or a section paper. The abstracts will be evaluated by the organizing committee
and by the members of the scientific committee (see below). Participants will be
notified about acceptance by May 15, 2010. The book of abstracts will be
published on the web pages of the symposium.

Workshop Proposals
Proposals for workshops should be submitted no later than March 15, 2010.
Notification of acceptance will be given by April 9. These one-day workshops
will run in parallel sessions with the main conference program. Alternatively,
the first day of the symposium may be dedicated to workshops. The symposium
organizers will provide the lecture rooms and other facilities, but the workshop
organizers will be responsible for the organization of their workshops (choosing
the speakers etc.).

The Abstract Submission
The body of the e-mail should include the following information (preferably in
this order):
1) Name of the participant
2) Title of presentation
3) Affiliation
4) E-mail address
5) Whether the paper is meant as a section paper, a poster, or a workshop

Scientific Committee
Antti Arppe (University of Helsinki)
Peter Austin (SOAS)
Denis Creissels (University of Lyon)
Dagmar Divjak (University of Sheffield)
Adele Goldberg (Princeton)
Stefan Th. Gries (UCSB)
Tuomas Huumo (University of Tartu)
Laura Janda (University of Tromsø)
Jarmo Jantunen (University of Oulu)
Silvia Luraghi (University of Pavia)
Sally Rice (University of Alberta)
Anna Siewierska (University of Lancaster)
Bernhard Wälchli (University of Berne)

Organizing Committee
Antti Arppe (Helsinki)
Seppo Kittilä (Helsinki)
Aki Kyröläinen (Turku)
Maarit Niemelä (Oulu)
Alexandre Nikolaev (Joensuu)
Jouni Rostila (Tampere)
Turo Vartiainen (Helsinki)
Laura Visapää (Helsinki)
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