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LINGUIST List 22.3444

Wed Aug 31 2011

Confs: Syntax/Belgium

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

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        1.     Karen De Clercq , GIST Lecture Series: Nanosyntax by Michal Starke

Message 1: GIST Lecture Series: Nanosyntax by Michal Starke
Date: 31-Aug-2011
From: Karen De Clercq <karen.declercqugent.be>
Subject: GIST Lecture Series: Nanosyntax by Michal Starke
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GIST Lecture Series: Nanosyntax by Michal Starke

Date: 07-Nov-2011 - 10-Nov-2011
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Contact: Karen De Clercq
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Meeting Description:

GIST and the Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities and Law at Ghent University are proud to announce the lecture series

Nanosyntax by Michal Starke

Date: 7 November 2011 - 10 November 2011

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to 'nanosyntax', which can be seen as a further exploration of cartography (Cinque and Rizzi 2010), whose aim it is to identify the smallest building blocks of the sentence, and also of the extensive work done on the internal structure of verbs, initiated by seminal work by Hale and Keyser (2002) and explored further in work by Ramchand (2008), among many others. Nanosyntax integrates the results of 30 years of Principle & Parameters research as well as the growing structuralisation of semantics.

The essential starting point of nanosyntax is the observation that as syntactic trees grew - in particular thanks to developments in cartography - the terminal nodes of syntactic structures have become very small and at some point they crossed the line and became smaller than a morpheme -- terminals have become 'submorphemic'. This simple fact, noted many times, leads to profound and wide-ranging consequences once it is taken seriously.

One immediate consequence of this development is that morphemes and words can no longer be the spellout of a single terminal. Rather, a single morpheme now 'spans' several syntactic terminals, and therefore corresponds to what is in effect an entire syntactic phrase. This in turn means that not just terminals but entire syntactic phrases are stored in the lexicon and it also means that there cannot be any lexicon before the syntax - i.e. syntax does not 'project from the lexicon'. This apparently innocuous technical change has wide-ranging consequences, both technical and architectural, e.g. there cannot be a lexicon before syntax and hence syntax does not 'project from the lexicon', syntax rather 'creates' lexical items by assembling the trees which will constitute lexical items. Observe that potentially there are some points of contact here with Constructional approaches to syntax.

Languages discussed in the course will include Bantu Nguni languages (Zulu, Xhosa, Swati), Germanic, Romance, Slavic as well as broad typological surveys.

Session Plan (Provisional):

Monday 7 November, 9.30-12.30: A new architecture for grammar
Tuesday 8 November, 9.30-12.30: The verbal system: its structure and syncretisms
Tuesday 8 November, 2.00-5.00 pm: The nominal system: its structure and syncretisms
Wednesday 9 November, 9.30-12.30: Language variation
Thursday 10 November, 9.30-12.30: Nano syntax at work

Participation is free, but those wishing to attend should register by sending an email to karen.declercqugent.be before 8 October 2011.

For up-to-date information (e.g. concerning class rooms), check the GIST website (http://www.gist.ugent.be/home).


Cinque, Guglielmo and Luigi Rizzi. 2010. The cartography of syntactic structures. The Oxford handbook of grammatical analysis, ed. Bernd Heine and Heiko Narrog. 51-65. Oxford University Press.
Hale, Ken and Samuel J. Keyser. 2002. Prolegomena toa theory of argument structure, MIT Press, 1-27.
Ramchand, Gillian. 2008. Verb Meaning and the Lexicon: A First Phase Syntax (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics)

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