LINGUIST List 9.926

Sun Jun 21 1998

Calls: Adding and Omitting

Editor for this issue: Anita Huang <>

Please do not use abbreviations or acronyms for your conference unless you explain them in your text. Many people outside your area of specialization will not recognize them. Also, if you are posting a second call for the same event, please keep the message short. Thank you for your cooperation.


  1. Andre Meinunger, Adding and Omitting

Message 1: Adding and Omitting

Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 10:01:55 +0200
From: Andre Meinunger <>
Subject: Adding and Omitting

Workshop titel: Adding and Omitting (Hinzufgen und Weglassen)
Date: February 24 - 26, 1999
Place: University of Constance (Germany)

Adding and Omitting

The workshop (AG) is concerned with two grammmatical phenomena of
information structuring that so far have not been considered to be
closely related: the partition topic:comment on the one hand and
ellipsis on the other. Both operations refer to the linguistic and/or
situative context. While in non-derived ("Chinese-style") topic:comment
constructions the adding of a topical constituent compensates deficits
of the hearer with respect to his/her knowledge about the respective
situation, ellipsis is a phenomenon which is characterized by the
dropping of situatively redundant constituents. It is in this light that
determinants of universal grammar as well as typologically relevant
parameters shall be discussed.

1. 	The basic issues concerning the topic:comment partition that arise

(i)	Are there different types of topics in the so-called topic prominent
languages compared to subject prominent languages?
(ii)	In which sense is the semantic function of topics that modify a
complete proposition different from that of raised (left-adjoined)
topics that represent an argument of the main verb?
.(iii)	What are the different syntactic forms of both sorts of topics
and which position(s) in the sentence may the occupy?
(iv)	Is there a real typological relevance concerning the discrimination
of topic prominent and subject prominent languages as proposed by Li and
Thompson? especially if 'non-gap topics' are defined as linguistic
expressions that mediate the relation between the descriptive content of
a proposition and a references situation in both topic prominent and
subject prominent languages.

2. 	As for the possible omission of structurally obligatory
constituents, the following questions should be addressed:

(i)	What are the universal and language specific constraints that have
to be taken into account?
(ii)	In how far are the potentially elided constituents triggered by
information packaging?
(iii)	How are ellipsis sites to be represented syntactically and
semantically? Within these representations, are there empty categories
involved? And if so, what is their status and how are they computed and
interpreted semantically?

3. 	A third point under debate comes about through the possibility that
in connection with coordinate structures topics as well as elliptical
constructions may co-occur next to each other.
(i)	How do different types of topics interact with elliptical coordinate
(ii)	Under which conditions is a topic omissible in a conjunct? Are such
constructions cases of deletion of a constituent or cases of extraction
of one constituent out of two or more conjuncts? Which scope may topics
have in coordinate construction?

Invited speakers:
Artemis Alexiadou, ZAS Berlin
Christophor Kennedy, Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois
Yen-Hui Audrey Li, USC Los Angeles
Danqing Liu, City U of Hong Kong / Shanghai Teachers' University
Valeria Molnar, Germanistisches Institut, U Lund 
Marie-Claude Paris, U.F.R. De Linguistique, U Paris VII
Chih-Chen Jane Tang, Institute of History and Philosophy, Academia
Sinica Taipeh, Taiwan
Chris Wilder, ZAS Berlin
Liejiong Xu, Department of Chinese Translation & Linguistics, City U of
Hong Kong

Deadline of abstract: September 1st, 1998
Length of abstract: 1 page (Letter size or A4)
Acceptance notice will be issued one month later than deadline.

communication to:
Kerstin Schwabe, ZAS, Jaegesrtr. 10/11, D- 10117 Berlin

Send abstracts by FAX to: +49 - 30 - 20 192 402
by e-mail to:
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue