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LINGUIST List 22.4048

Mon Oct 17 2011

Calls: Syntax/Sweden

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Lobke Aelbrecht , Parallels Between Clauses and Nominals

Message 1: Parallels Between Clauses and Nominals
Date: 17-Oct-2011
From: Lobke Aelbrecht <lobke.aelbrechtugent.be>
Subject: Parallels Between Clauses and Nominals
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Full Title: Parallels Between Clauses and Nominals

Date: 29-Aug-2012 - 01-Sep-2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact Person: Lobke Aelbrecht
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Call Deadline: 07-Nov-2011

Meeting Description:

Parallels Between Clauses and Nominals
Workshop at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (http://www.sle2012.eu), Stockholm, 29 August-1 September 2012

In an endeavour to explain how language is structured, linguists attempt to find patterns and account for generalisations. In formulating such generalisations, many syntacticians have been exploring the parallels between clauses and nominal expressions.

Amongst formal approaches, one of the first explicit proposals is Szabolcsi's (1983) work on Hungarian noun phrases, where she likens the possessor in the nominal to the sentential subject. Abney's (1987) dissertation follows her lead and pushes the parallelism between noun phrases and clauses even further by assuming a similar functional structure for both. Subsequently, more evidence was brought forward supporting a parallel approach towards the nominal and clausal domain, from a typologically diverse range of languages (Alexiadou & Stavrou 1998; Cardinaletti & Starke 1999; Bernstein 2001; Grimshaw 2005; Koopman 2005; Rijkhoff 2008, among others).

Parallels can be found by examining these domains from two angles. Properties which are typically attributed to clauses, such as the expression of tense and aspect, have been argued to have a counterpart in noun phrases (Kratzer 1998, Wiltschko 2003, Giusti 2008 and Lecarme 2008, for a survey see Alexiadou et al. 2007). Conversely, several characteristics typically associated with nominals have also been linked to clauses, such as referentiality, definiteness, familiarity and factivity. More examples of potential parallels are discussed below in the research question part of this proposal.

Call for Papers:

This workshop aims to bring together the empirical evidence for - or against - such parallels between the clause and the nominal domain, and wishes to explore the different viewpoints on how they can be encoded in the grammar. We hope to include both formal and functional perspectives, as well as new data from experimental or acquisitional research, for instance, and welcome contributions which deal with any natural language. Questions we would like to see addressed include, but are not limited to:

1. Do nominal expressions have clausal properties? What would be empirical evidence for such a claim? If it is true, is it always the case that nominals exhibit 'clausal' structure? For nominalisations such as the destruction of the city, the motivation for claiming they have verbal roots may be clear (cf. Chomsky 1970; Grimshaw 2005), but parallels have also been drawn for other nominals, based on several properties:

- Giusti (2008) discusses agreement and concord phenomena in nominal expressions with respect to similar mechanisms in the clause. Subject agreement with the verb, for instance, is not limited to clauses but also occurs with possessors in noun phrases, as shown for Romance and Bantu languages. See also Bittner & Hale (1996) for a link between case and clausal agreement.
- Notions such as topic and focus, which are typically associated with clausal structure, have received counterparts inside the nominal domain (cf. Giusti 1996, Horrocks and Stavrou 1987; Aboh 2004, among others). There is debate, however, as to whether there are designated topic and focus positions within the nominal domain mirroring those that have been proposed for clauses (Aboh 2010).
- Patterns such as How/So important a decision... suggest that wh-movement applies inside the nominal phrase (Bennis et al 1998, Haegeman 2008).
- Predication is also argued to take place within the nominal domain. Den Dikken (1995,1998) shows that clausal copular verbs as in Ben is a doctor are parallel to 'nominal copulas' such as prepositional of in a jewel of an island, where a jewel is predicated of an island (see also Campbell 1996; Bennis et al 1998; Den Dikken 2006; Alexiadou et al 2007).
- Sentential negation has also been argued to have its counterpart in the nominal domain, as Troseth (2004) discusses, for instance.
- Even Verb Second, a phenomenon that appears to be exclusive to clauses, has been argued to have a parallel in nominal expressions (Haegeman 2004; Bennis et al 1998).
- Wiltschko (2003), Nordlinger & Sadler (2004) and Lecarme (2008) extend tense and modality to the nominal domain and Roehrs (2009) does the same for auxiliaries. See also Pesetsky & Torrego 2004; Matthewson 2005 and Alexiadou 2010 on the debate on whether or not there is tense in nominals.

2. Do clauses have nominal properties? Many properties that are traditionally attributed to noun phrases are also used to distinguish between clause types:

- Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1971) analyse factive clauses as being introduced by the fact that, making them noun phrases in terms of structure. This started an ongoing debate as to how one can - and whether one should - encode factivity in the syntax of a complement clause (Melvold 1991; Aboh 2005; Kallulli 2006; De Cuba 2007; De Cuba & Ürögdi 2009).
- Subsequently, the distinction between types of complement clause has been construed in terms of other properties of nominal expressions such as referentiality (Haegeman & Ürögdi 2010), familiarity (Hegarty 1992) and definiteness (Melvold 1991, Roussou 1993). See also Han (2005) and Takahashi (2010).
- Free relatives can show a surface resemblance to embedded interrogatives. Only the former however, have frequently been analysed as involving a nominal layer in their structure (Huddleston & Pullum 2002; Caponigro 2002), although this has been disputed (Rooryck 1994).
- Recent discussion of relative clauses, has given rise to new viewpoints on the link between clauses and nominals (Aboh 2005, Arsenijevic 2009, Manzini 2010).

3. If the answer to questions 1 and 2 is positive and there is a parallel between the clausal and nominal domain, how can this be encoded in the grammar? Several analyses have been proposed (see references above, cf. Alexiadou et al 2007 for an overview).

4. Entering the more formal approaches towards these parallels, following Van Riemsdijk (1978), Starke (1993), Koopman (2000,2010) and Den Dikken (2003, 2010) for work in the adpositional domain, Grimshaw (2005) proposes a link between DP (the nominal phrase including the determiner, i.e. the referential layer) and TP (Tense Phrase, including the finite verb), and between PP and CP (Complementizer Phrase, including e.g. complementizer and illocutionary force). Not everyone agrees with this parallel, however: other work has, for instance, linked DP and CP together. So another question to be addressed is, are we drawing the right parallellisms? What in the clausal domain is it that the nominal domain is parallel to?

5. Perhaps more fundamental questions are the following: How real are the parallellisms? and How far do the parallellisms go? In trying to find generalisations, one should always be wary of imposing patterns on the data. For instance, many linguists have drawn parallels between clauses and nominals based on referentiality or presupposition, but are we actually looking at the same thing, or is the link 'created' by the way we look at phenomena?

As part of the SLE workshop procedure, we invite anyone who would like to participate in this workshop to submit a 300-word abstract by November 7, 2011, by sending it to lobke.aelbrechtugent.be. We will include them in our final workshop proposal, to be submitted to the SLE conference, which will be held in Stockholm from 29 August to 1 September 2012.

If our workshop is accepted, we kindly invite you to submit a full abstract via the SLE website by January 15, 2012. Note that inclusion in the workshop proposal does not guarantee acceptance to the workshop, as all abstracts still undergo a reviewing process by the SLE organisers after January 15.

More information on the conference, procedure and registration/SLE membership fee can be found on their website:


Important Dates:

Submission short abstract (300 words): November 7, 2011 (to lobke.aelbrechtugent.be)
Notification of acceptance of the workshop proposal: December 15, 2011
Submission full abstract (500 words, excluding references): January 15, 2012 (via the SLE website)
Notification of acceptance to the workshop: March 31, 2012

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