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LINGUIST List 23.2688

Mon Jun 11 2012

Confs: Syntax/UK

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 11-Jun-2012
From: Alex Drummond <alex.drummonddur.ac.uk>
Subject: Reference and Antecedence: How Far does the Grammar Reach?
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Reference and Antecedence: How Far does the Grammar Reach?

Date: 28-Aug-2012 - 29-Aug-2012
Location: Durham, United Kingdom
Contact: Alex Drummond
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Meeting Description:

The Un-Cartesian Linguistics project (AHRC/DFG) investigates the hypothesis that language is radically non-arbitrary: the organization of grammar is the organization of a species-specific mode of thought. No 'interface' is required to join the grammatical system with other high-level cognitive systems, since the objects manipulated by these systems are themselves grammatically structured. Grammar, in other words, organizes meaning in a way that no other system can emulate. If there is no independent semantic component (or a 'Language of Thought'), there may be no coherent sense in which two sentences can 'encode the same interpretation', or be 'interpretively equivalent', unless these are reconstructed as grammatical notions.

Nonetheless, notion such as interpretative equivalence have played an important role in the development of binding theory since Reinhart (1983). It is probably fair to say that most recent formulations of binding theory adopt, in one way or another, Reinhart's basic hypothesis that there is competition between different means of encoding the same interpretation. Particularly influential is Grodzinsky & Reinhart's (1993) 'Rule I', which makes reference to an interpretively equivalent comparison class. Rule I permits coreference to be used only if there is no competing derivation where binding is used instead of coreference to yield the same interpretation. Following G&R's proposal, a number of authors have made use of similar constraints. To give a few examples: The Exceptional Co-indexing Rule of Heim (1998), Rule H of Fox (2000), the binding hierarchy of Reuland (2001:473), the reformulated Rule I of Reinhart (2006), The Syntax-induced Obviation principle of Safir (2011), and Roelofsen's (2011) Free Variable Economy.

The aim of this workshop is to determine whether this literature undermines the Un-Cartesian project. Is there strong evidence for Rule I, Rule H and other such principles? And if so, can these principles nonetheless be formulated in a way which is compatible with the Un-Cartesian outlook?


Fox, D. 2000. Economy and Semantic Interpretation. MIT Press.

Grodzinksy, Y. & T. Reinhart. 1993. 'The Innateness of Binding and Coreference.' Linguistic Inquiry 24:69-101.

Reinhart, T. 1983. 'Coreference and Bound Anaphora: A Restatement of the Anaphora Questions.' Linguistics and Philosophy 6:47-88.

Reinhart, T. 2006. Interface Strategies. MIT Press.

Reuland, E. 2001. 'Primitives of Binding.' Linguistic Inquiry 32:439-492.

Roelofsen, F. 2011. 'Free Variable Economy.' Linguistic Inquiry 42:682-697.

Safir, K. 2011. 'One True Anaphor.' Ms., Rutgers.

Invited Speakers:

Paul Elbourne (Queen Mary, University of London)
Eric Reuland (University of Utrecht)
Floris Roelofsen (ILLC, University of Amsterdam; UC Santa Cruz)
Johan Rooryck (Leiden University)
George Tsoulas (University of York)

Registration starts on Tuesday 28 August at 13:00. The workshop ends on Wednesday 29 August at 13:30.

Registration is free.

Please email alex.drummonddur.ac.uk before 13 August if you would like to attend.



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