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LINGUIST List 23.461

Mon Jan 30 2012

Confs: Semantics, Syntax, Typology, Ling Theories/Germany

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        1.     Andreas Trotzke , Complex Sentences, Types of Embedding, and Recursivity

Message 1: Complex Sentences, Types of Embedding, and Recursivity
Date: 30-Jan-2012
From: Andreas Trotzke <andreas.trotzkeuni-konstanz.de>
Subject: Complex Sentences, Types of Embedding, and Recursivity
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Complex Sentences, Types of Embedding, and Recursivity

Date: 05-Mar-2012 - 06-Mar-2012
Location: Konstanz, Germany
Contact: Andreas Trotzke
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax; Typology

Meeting Description:

Complex sentences have always been a matter of intense investigation in linguistics. Since complex syntax is clearly evidenced by sentential embedding and since embedding of one sentence in another is taken to signal recursivity of the grammar, the capacity of computing complex sentences is of central interest to the recent hypothesis that syntactic recursion is the defining property of natural language. In the light of more recent claims that complex syntax is not a universal property of all living languages, the issue of how to detect and define syntactic complexity has become a much debated topic in current linguistics.

This workshop deals with the variability, but also with the universality of complex sentences both from a synchronic and from a diachronic perspective. Specifically, are there living or dead languages that lack complex sentences, and what would the evidence consist of? Or can it be shown that sentence embedding is present even in the most controversial cases? These issues pertain to what types of embedding can be distinguished and what kind of basic procedures are underlying them. In particular, are there fundamentally different modes of embedding for clauses and other syntactic constituents? Is there a single criterion for clausal embedding, or does one need to distinguish different types such as sentences with or without a complementizer, nominalizations, different types of infinitives, etc.? Are recursive procedures a sine qua non for complex syntax, or do iterative rather than recursive mechanisms suffice to generate sentence-level embedding? What is the place of recursivity in the grammar then?

The workshop also aims at connecting the issue of complex sentences to interdisciplinary domains of research. How much of a role has the computation of complex sentences played in human evolution? Specifically, has the capacity of sentence embedding been shaped by cultural constraints and thus evolved by some ‘ratchet effect’ assumed in theories of cultural evolution? Or is it more plausible to hypothesize slight genetic changes causing a ‘great leap forward’?

Invited Speakers:

Uli Sauerland
Adele E. Goldberg
Jan-Wouter Zwart

Workshop Organizers:

Andreas Trotzke (University of Konstanz)
Josef Bayer (University of Konstanz)
Antje Lahne (University of Konstanz)

5 March 2012 (Room V 1001)

10:15 - 10:30

10:30 - 11:30
Uli Sauerland (ZAS, Berlin): Speech and Attitude Reports: Universally Complex

11:30 - 12:10
Matthias Gerner (City University of Hong Kong): A Meta-Sequential Prefix in Neasu

12:10 - 13:40

13:40 - 14:20
Tonjes Veenstra (ZAS, Berlin): The Development of Subordination

14:20 - 15:00
Werner Frey (ZAS, Berlin) & Hubert Truckenbrodt (ZAS, Berlin): Recursion and Iteration in Different Clausal Dependencies in German: Prosodic and Syntactic Evidence

15:00 - 15:30
Coffee break

15:30 - 16:10
Ray Jackendoff (Tufts) & Eva Wittenberg (Tufts): Even Simpler Syntax: A Hierarchy of Grammatical Complexity

16:10 - 17:10
Adele E. Goldberg (Princeton): Size, Complexity, and Recursivity of Constructions

- Conference dinner

6 March 2012 (Room V 1001)

10:00 - 11:00
Jan-Wouter Zwart (Groningen): Top-down Derivation, Recursion, and the Model of Grammar

11:00 - 11:30
Coffee break

11:30 - 12:10
Marlies Kluck (Groningen): Deriving the Extremely Complex in a Simplex Manner: The Case of Sentence Amalgamation

12:10 - 12:50
Leah S. Bauke (Frankfurt): What Small Clauses Can Tell Us about Complex Sentence Structure

12:50 - 14:20

14:20 - 15:00
Misha Becker (UNC Chapel Hill): Learning Structures with Derived Arguments

15:00 - 15:40
Tom Roeper (UMass) & Jill de Villiers (Smith College): Avoid Phase: Interfaces Guide Acquisition inside Language Typology

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