LINGUIST List 17.3124

Tue Oct 24 2006

Calls: Discourse Analysis, Phonetics/Germany; Typology/Austria

Editor for this issue: Dan Parker <>

Directory         1.    Juergen Trouvain, Interdisciplinary Workshop 'The Phonetics of Laughter'
        2.    Eva Schultze-Berndt, Representation of Actions, States and Events in Classification Systems

Message 1: Interdisciplinary Workshop 'The Phonetics of Laughter'
Date: 24-Oct-2006
From: Juergen Trouvain <>
Subject: Interdisciplinary Workshop 'The Phonetics of Laughter'

Full Title: Interdisciplinary Workshop 'The Phonetics of Laughter'

Date: 05-Aug-2007 - 05-Aug-2007 Location: Saarbruecken, Germany Contact Person: Juergen Trouvain Meeting Email:

For more details see
Message 2: Representation of Actions, States and Events in Classification Systems
Date: 20-Oct-2006
From: Eva Schultze-Berndt <>
Subject: Representation of Actions, States and Events in Classification Systems

Full Title: Representation of Actions, States and Events in Classification Systems

Date: 15-Jul-2007 - 20-Jul-2007 Location: Graz, Austria Contact Person: Eva Schultze-Berndt Meeting Email:

Abstracts: Abstracts (for a 20 min. presentation) should be no longer than 500 words (including examples and references) and be sent as attached word or text document to Eva Schultze-Berndt by 5th November 2006.

Proposal text: The theme session will bring together evidence from different languages and disciplines to shed some light on features and criteria of human categorization manifested specifically in the classification of actions, states and events. This domain includes a wide array of abstract notions and concepts usually associated with verbs. Their representation in different types of classification systems has received much less attention than ''nominal'' concepts such as animals, plants or artifacts. The classification systems taken into consideration here manifest themselves in either (spoken or signed) language or script: - Numeral classifier systems, for nouns and for verbs; - Closed-class verbs functioning as classifiers in complex predicates; - Semantic determinatives in writing systems; - Event classifiers in sign languages.

The wide range of languages in which we find these classification systems allow cross-linguistic comparison along several dimensions. At the same time, the parallel existence of several classification systems in the same languages makes it possible to distinguish system specific features from cognitive universals.

Questions to be addressed in this theme session include: - What are basic concepts, i.e. basic actions, states or events in the different systems and languages, and are there universals? - What kind of domain structure do we find: e.g. prototype members, graded membership, typical taxonomical or schematic relations between the classifying and classified element? - Which basic features of actions, states or events - e.g. direction, speed, change of state, duration, repetition, agency, tools, human sensations etc. play a role in the different classification systems? Are they parallel to features found for living beings or artefacts, or do they form independent categories? - Are there correlations between the function or syntactic features of the different systems and semantic properties? More specifically: in languages using more than one of the classification systems, will they show a coherent picture or systematically system-specific characteristics? - To what extent can we find synchronic and diachronic variation? Are there universal tendencies of evolution, and in this case, can they be cognitively, culturally or linguistically motivated?