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LINGUIST List 22.843

Sat Feb 19 2011

Confs: Linguistic Theories, Pragmatics, Syntax/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Anne Breitbarth , Syntax of Polarity Emphasis

Message 1: Syntax of Polarity Emphasis
Date: 18-Feb-2011
From: Anne Breitbarth <anne.breitbarthugent.be>
Subject: Syntax of Polarity Emphasis
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Syntax of Polarity Emphasis

Date: 29-Sep-2011 - 30-Sep-2011
Location: Gent, Belgium
Contact: Anne Breitbarth
Contact Email: anne.breitbarthugent.be
Meeting URL: http://www.gist.ugent.be/polarityemphasis

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Pragmatics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

The FWO-Odysseus project GIST at Ghent University is pleased to
announce the GIST4 workshop on

The syntax of polarity emphasis: distribution and locus of licensing

This workshop brings together researchers who have worked on the
syntactic analysis of a range of polarity emphasis phenomena in a number
of languages. The goal is to achieve a systematic classification of such
phenomena, as an overarching description of their typology, as well as a
unified terminology, are still largely lacking.

This workshop brings together researchers who have worked on the
syntactic analysis of a range of polarity emphasis phenomena in a number
of languages. The goal is to achieve a systematic classification of such
phenomena, as an overarching description of their typology, as well as a
unified terminology, are still largely lacking.

While most of the expressions of polarity emphasis discussed in the
literature so far appear to be main clause phenomena (MCP) or root
transformations, that is, patterns by and large restricted to main clauses,
possibly including a restricted set of subordinate clauses known to be
transparent for such phenomena/to pattern with root clauses (see Hooper
and Thompson 1973 and Emonds 1970, 1976 for early discussion), recent
work has shown that other expressions of polarity emphasis have a freer
distribution (Danckaert 2009, Breitbarth and Haegeman 2010, Danckaert
and Haegeman to appear). This difference indistribution of polarity
emphasising expressions has been noted before; Hyman and Watters
(1984) in their large-scale study of several African languages on what they
call 'auxiliary focus' - emphatic assertion as expressed through focus on the
auxiliary - show that while in most languages, it is restricted to main clause
types, potentially including embedded clause types that can be assimilated
to main clauses (1984:256), emphatic assertion through auxiliary focus is
generally available in all clause types in some languages. They propose
that in languages in which auxiliary focus is what we call an MCP, 'focus
marking is grammatically [...] controlled' (1984: 256), while in languages in
which it is unrestricted, it is pragmatically controlled.

A number of recent papers have proposed accounts of those expressions of
polarity emphasis which appear to be MCP in terms of specialized structure
in an articulated left periphery (LP) Most of the phenomena in question
have been argued by the relevant authors to implicate an operator in a left-
peripheral functional projection (a.o. Holmberg 2001 on Finnish, Hernanz
2007, on Spanish, Martins 2007 on Portuguese, and Poletto 2009 on
Italian).. On the other hand, crosslinguistically emphatic polarity phenomena
do not always display this restricted distribution, and are possibly what
Hyman and Watters call 'pragmatically controlled'. The question then arises
whether with respect to the observed cross-linguistic differences in the
expression of polarity emphasis, the crucial distinction is between
syntactically vs. pragmatically controlled phenomena, or whether a purely
syntactic approach e.g. within the cartographic framework is sufficient. An
approach of the latter type could for instance take the difference to reside in
the different syntactic positions of the expressions of polarity emphasis, viz.
within the left periphery (MCP) or within the TP-domain (unrestricted).
Duffield's (2007) treatment of do insertion in English is an example of such
an approach. Proposals of TP-internal focus phrases, made to account for
other phenomena might be applied here with success (cf. the work of e.g.
Jayaseelan 2001 or Belletti 2004). On the other hand, a purely syntactic
account may not be able to capture the discourse effects associated with
specific patterns and it could be that a radically pragmatic account may offer
a closer fit to the data. The question arises, of course, whether certain
types of polarity emphasis phenomena should be unattested for principled
reasons, such as polarity emphasis phenomena syntactically encoded in the
left periphery that are not restricted to main clauses, or polarity emphasis
phenomena encoded at the TP level, but which are MCP. Clearly, such
considerations have wider implications for our understanding of the general
architecture of grammar, in particular for the cartographic enterprise, which
aims at 'syntacticizing as much as possible the interpretive domains'
(Cinque and Rizzi 2010: 63).

The contributions to this workshop will take a serious look at the nature of
the empirical differences between polarity emphasis phenomena
cross-linguistically, and work towards a unified analysis able to account for
these differences.

The workshop takes place on 29 and 30 September 2011 in Ghent. The
following speakers have agreed to participate in the event:

- Montserrat Batllori (Universidad de Girona) and Maria Lluïsa Hernanz
(Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): Spanish and Catalan polarity
- Anne Breitbarth and Liliane Haegeman (GIST, Ghent University): Flemish
- Ernestina Carrilho (Universidade de Lisboa): Portuguese ele
- Nigel Duffield (University of Sheffield): Vietnamese có
- Anders Holmberg (Newcastle University): Finnish auxiliary fronting
- Jason Kandybowicz (Swarthmore College): Nupe ni:
- Aniko Lipták (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics): Hungarian igenis
- Ana Maria Martins (Universidade de Lisboa): Portuguese não/sim/verb
- Cecilia Poletto (Università Ca' Foscari, Venice): Italian sentence-final NO
- Chris Wilder (Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trondheim): English emphatic do

Anyone interested in attending the workshop is asked to inform the
organisers by 15 June 2011 at the latest. There is a registration fee of
30EUR covering coffee and lunch breaks as well as photocopying. Further
details, also concerning the location of the venue, travel and
accommodation information etc. can be found on the workshop website:

Organising committee:
Anne Breitbarth (a.breitbarthugent.be)
Karen DeClercq (karen.declercqugent.be)
Liliane Haegeman (liliane.haegemanugent.be)


Belletti, Adriana, 2004. Aspects of the Low IP Area. In Luigi Rizzi (ed.), The
Structure of CP and IP, 16-51. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Breitbarth, Anne and Liliane Haegeman. 2010. 'En' en is níet wat we
dachten: A Flemish discourse particle. Ms. Ghent University

Cinque, Guglielmo and Luigi Rizzi. (2010) The cartography of syntactic
structures. In: The Oxford handbook of grammatical analysis, ed. Bernd
Heine and Heiko Narrog, 51-65. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Danckaert, Lieven. 2009. Polarity Focus and the Latin particle quidem in
adverbial clauses. Paper presented at the conference on Root Phenomena,
Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin, September 2009.

Danckaert, Lieven and Liliane Haegeman. To appear. Conditional clauses,
Main Clause Phenomena and the syntax of polarity emphasis. In Advances
in comparative Germanic syntax, eds. Caroline Heycock, Guido Vanden
Wyngaerd and Robert Truswell. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Duffield, N. 2007. Aspects of Vietnamese clausal structure: separating tense
from assertion. Linguistics 45: 765-814.

Emonds, Joseph. 1970. Root and structure-preserving transformations.
Ph.D.diss., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.

Hernanz, M. Lluïsa. 2007. From polarity to modality. Some (a)symmetries
between bien and sí in Spanish. In Coreference, modality and focus, eds. L
Eguren, Olga Fernández Soriano, 133-169. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Holmberg, Anders. 2007. Null subject and polarity focus. Studia Linguistica
61, 212-236.

Hooper, John and Sandra Thompson. 1973. On the applicability of root
transformations. Linguistic Inquiry 4: 465-497.

Hyman, Larry M. and John R. Watters. 1984. Auxiliary Focus. Studies in
African Linguistics 15/3:233-273.

Jayaseelan, K.A. 2001. IP-internal topic and focus phrases. Studia
Linguistica 55, 39-75.

Martins, Ana Maria. 2007. Double realization of verbal copies in European
Portuguese emphatic affirmation. In The Copy Theory of Movement, eds.
Norbert Corver and Jairo Nunes, 77-118. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John

Poletto, Cecilia. 2009. The syntax of focus negation. Ms. University of
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