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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Conference Information

Full Title: Coordination / Subordination in Lisbon

Short Title: CSI Lisbon
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Start Date: 07-May-2014 - 09-May-2014
Contact: Fernanda Pratas
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://www.clul.ul.pt/csilisbon2014/
Meeting Description: Coordination / Subordination in Lisbon

The conference will be hosted by Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa (CLUL):


Complex sentences have been at the core of cross-linguistic studies over the past decades. As a way to account for the linkage between clauses within these intricate structures, the traditional coordination vs. subordination divide has certainly proved crucial, offering a convenient basis for the development of numerous ground-breaking formal tools, both in syntactic and in semantic domains.

More recent studies, however, have met several challenges to this traditional boundary, either because they have gone further into the theoretical implications of prior analyses or because they are focused on novel data: from still scarcely studied languages, from dialectal and diachronic variation or from language acquisition (cf. Gast & Diessel 2012, Haspelmath 2004, Heycock & Petersen 2012, Ledgeway 2007, Sekali 2011, Verstraete 2007, among many others).

One type of challenge concerns the constructions that resist both some of the syntactic tests for coordination and some of the tests for subordination. To name just one example, are comparative constructions in some languages an instance of subordination? If so, do they involve adverbial clauses? Or, considering some word order restrictions, do they involve relative clauses? Furthermore, how to accommodate the fact that they also show typical features of coordination, such as their behaviour regarding ellipsis or the properties of their connectives? Another type of challenge has been brought about by specific mismatches between the superficial structure of some sentences and their actual use or meaning: (i) some sentences exhibit properties of subordinate clauses and yet are used independently, a phenomenon known as insubordination (Evans 2007); this occurs, for instance, with sequences like: ‘If you could visit grandmother today’; (ii) certain syntactically coordinate sentences are cases of subordination at the level of conceptual structure (Culicover & Jackendoff 1997); this occurs, for instance, with sequences like: ‘The treasury minister announces one more austerity measure and my friend emigrates with his family.’

Conference website: http://www.clul.ul.pt/csilisbon2014/

Invited Speakers:

Martin Haspelmath (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)
Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh)
Adam Ledgeway (University of Cambridge)


Adriana Cardoso
Rita Marquilhas
Ana Maria Martins
Sandra Pereira
Clara Pinto
Fernanda Pratas
Linguistic Subfield: Semantics; Syntax; Typology
LL Issue: 24.3009

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