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LINGUIST List 25.1535

Tue Apr 01 2014

Calls: Syntax, Historical Linguistics, Language Acquisition/Italy

Editor for this issue: Bryn Hauk <brynlinguistlist.org>

Date: 01-Apr-2014
From: Federica Cognola <federica.cognolaunitn.it>
Subject: Understanding Pro-drop: A Synchronic and Diachronic Perspective
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Full Title: Understanding Pro-drop: A Synchronic and Diachronic Perspective

Date: 19-Jun-2014 - 21-Jun-2014
Location: Trento, Italy
Contact Person: Federica Cognola
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://events.unitn.it/en/pro-drop2014

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Syntax

Call Deadline: 15-Apr-2014

Meeting Description:

This conference aims at advancing our understanding of null-subject languages, in particular of partial pro-drop languages, by bringing together researchers working on empirical (synchronic, diachronic and acquisitional) and theoretical aspects of pro-drop.

Since Rizzi's (1982) work, it has been known that there exist different types of null-subject languages. Roberts & Holmberg (2010) propose that there exist four types of pro-drop languages:

- Consistent null-subject languages, such as Italian and Greek, in which a referential subject can be dropped in any syntactic environment
- Radical pro-drop languages, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, in which the presence of a null-subject correlates with dropping of nominals in several environments (cf. Huang 1984, Tomioka 2003, Saito 2007, Neeleman & Szendröi 2007)
- Expletive null-subject languages, such as standard German, varieties of Dutch and Afrikaans (cf. Biberauer 2010), in which expletive, but not referential subjects can be dropped under certain syntactic conditions
- Partial null-subject languages, such as Finnish, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian, in which 'the pronominal subject may remain unexpressed under restricted conditions determined by both the morphological and the syntactic context.' (Roberts/Holmberg 2010:6)

Invited Speakers:

Manuela Ambar, University of Lisboa
Theresa Biberauer, University of Cambridge
Mara Frascarelli, University of Roma Tre
Helmut Weiss, University of Frankfurt & Anna Volodina, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim
Michael Zimmermann, University of Konstanz

Final Call for Papers:

Abstracts should be anonymous and not exceed two pages (12-point Times New Roman font, with single spacing and margins of at least 2.54cm/1 inch), including examples and references. They should be sent as PDF attachment to federica.cognolaunitn.it. Submissions are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author, or two joint abstracts per author.

Please see http://events.unitn.it/en/pro-drop2014 or contact Federica Cognola (federica.cognolaunitn.it) for further information.

Submission deadline: 15 April 2014
Notification: No later than 10 May 2014

We encourage submissions for 30-minute talks (followed by 10 minutes for discussion) addressing (but not restricted to) the following questions:

a) Why can referential definite subject pronouns be null in pro-drop languages? Are rich morphology (Rizzi 1982, Neeleman/Szendröi 2007 a.o.), discourse (i.e. pro being licensed by a moved topic, cf. Frascarelli 2007, Grimshaw & Samek-Lodovici 1998, Modesto 2008, Barbosa 2013 a.o.) or ellipsis, cf. Duguine (2013) or a combination of these factors responsible for pro-drop?

b) What can phenomena such as complementiser agreement found typically in German and Dutch dialects (cf. Bennis/Haegeman 1984, Bayer 1984, Fuss 2005, Gruber 2008, 2013, Haegeman & van Koppen 2012, van Koppen 2012 a.o.) and the presence of subject clitics in Northern Italian dialects (Brandi/Cordin 1981,1989, Poletto 2000 a.o.), tell us about the relationship between C and T (cf. Chomsky 2008)?

c) What is the core property distinguishing partial from consistent pro-drop languages? Is the identification of a general class of partial pro-drop languages empirically motivated? Can we identify different types of partial pro-drop languages? What is the status of generics in partial pro-drop languages (cf. Holmberg 2005, 2010)?

d) Can acquisition studies help us to determine what the properties of pro-drop languages are?

e) It has been claimed that some modern non-null-subject languages went through periods in their history in which they allowed for referential null-subjects (cf. Old English (OE), van Gelderen 2005, Walkden 2012 a.o.) and Old High German (OHG, Axel 2007, Axel/Weiss 2011, Schlachter 2012 a.o.). Conversely, Old Romance (OR) languages have been claimed (Benincà 1984, Adams 1987, Roberts 1993, Vance 1989, 1993 a.o.) to be asymmetric pro-drop languages, i.e. languages in which null subjects are much more frequent in main clauses, and much rarer in embedded clauses. What are the conditions determining the distribution of null subjects in OE, OHG and OR? Are there any modern varieties which display such a pro-drop systems? Can OE, OHG and OR be defined as partial pro-drop languages in Holmberg's (2005, 2010) sense (cf. Cognola 2013, Waldken 2013)? Why has the system found in OE, OHG and OR been lost in the modern varieties?

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