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LINGUIST List 22.2784

Thu Jul 07 2011

Confs: Syntax, Pragmatics, Semantics, Psycholinguistics/Frankfurt

Editor for this issue: Zac Smith <zaclinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Sebastian Bücking , Information structure in non-typical environments

Message 1: Information structure in non-typical environments
Date: 06-Jul-2011
From: Sebastian Bücking <sebastian.bueckinguni-tuebingen.de>
Subject: Information structure in non-typical environments
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Information structure in non-typical environments
Short Title: DGfS 34, AG 16

Date: 07-Mar-2012 - 09-Mar-2012
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Contact: Sebastian Bücking
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

The workshop ‘Information structure and its role in non-typical environments (AG 16)’ is organized as part of the 34. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft / Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) ‘Language as a Complex System’. The conference is held at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany, March 7-9, 2012.

Organizers :
Tatjana Heyde-Zybatow (University of Flensburg)
Britta Stolterfoht (University of Tuebingen)
Sebastian Bücking (University of Tuebingen)

Information structure (= IS) categories like topic-comment, focus-background and their syntactic and prosodic characteristics were investigated mainly in relation to the verb and its complements. Broadening the perspective, the workshop aims at drawing attention to the following questions:

1. Can IS concepts be applied fruitfully to domains other than verbal projections?
2. Does IS condition the position and interpretation of adverbial adjuncts?
3. Does IS play a role in the formation of verbal clusters?

Ad 1.: Data as in (1) suggest that the prosodic realization of DP-internal constituents is sensitive to IS aspects as it is in verbal projections. Obviously, a DP-internal hat contour is licensed only in contexts where the partition of focus and topic matches, cf. the contrast between (1a) and (1b).
(1) √RUdis Vertilgung von MÖH\ren steht zur Debatte.
(1a) Rudis und Tonis Vertilgung von WAS?
(1b) #WESsen Vertilgung von Gemüse?
Two follow-up questions arise: Does the internal structure of the DP reflect IS partitioning? Does DP-internal IS interact with the sentential domain?

Ad 2.: The effects of IS factors on the position of adverbial adjuncts are poorly understood so far (but see Frey, 2003; Steube, 2006). The examples in (2) show that replacing the temporal wh-indefinite with an adjunct that contains a discourse-given constituent affects ordering preferences.
(2a) dass wer wann/*wann wer angerufen hat.
(2b) dass ??wer an diesem Tag/an diesem Tag wer angerufen hat.
We wonder whether other IS characteristics (topichood, contrast, etc.) interact with adjunct position.

Ad 3.: The licensing conditions for the formation of verbal clusters are still unclear. There seem to be cases where IS plays a crucial role. It is argued that topicalization licenses do-support in Standard German, cf. (3a) (see Bader & Schmid, 2006). The question is whether, at least partially, IS licenses the emergence of (newer) periphrastic forms like e.g. the so-called double perfect, see (3b).
(3a) Verschenken tut er nichts.
(3b) Sie hat Teile des Aufsatzes geschrieben gehabt.

We invite researchers concerned with the topics sketched above or the role of information structure in other non-typical environments. Both theoretical and empirical (experimental, corpus-based, etc.) contributions are very welcome.

Presentation Guidelines:
Talks are allotted 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes for discussion)

Abstract Guidelines:
Abstracts are not to exceed 250 words (including footnotes; references, at most 5, and contact details are excluded). Abstracts should be sent via e-mail attachments to sebastian.bueckinguni-tuebingen.de

Abstracts should include:
1. The title of the paper
2. The name(s) of the author(s) and their affiliation(s)
3. The corresponding author's e-mail address

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: August 15, 2011.
Notification of acceptance: by September 15, 2011.

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