LINGUIST List 21.3471

Tue Aug 31 2010

Calls: Historical Ling, Syntax, Pragmatics, Germanic, Slavic/Germany

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <>

        1.    Augustin Speyer, The German Middle Field: Comparative and Diachronic

Message 1: The German Middle Field: Comparative and Diachronic
Date: 30-Aug-2010
From: Augustin Speyer <>
Subject: The German Middle Field: Comparative and Diachronic
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Full Title: The German Middle Field: Comparative and Diachronic

Date: 23-Feb-2011 - 25-Feb-2011 Location: Goettingen, Germany Contact Person: Augustin Speyer Meeting Email:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics; Syntax

Language Family(ies): Germanic; Slavic Subgroup

Call Deadline: 06-Sep-2010

Meeting Description:

This workshop is part of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS). Organizers: Kristine Bentzen (Tromsø), Roland Hinterhölzl (HU Berlin/Venice), Augustin Speyer (Marburg), Luka Szucsich (HU Berlin).

We will focus on pragmatically/semantically triggered word order variation (WOV) in the middle field (MF) in German (= scrambling) from a comparative and diachronic perspective, addressing the issue of how scrambling in German is similar to and different from related phenomena in other languages.

In this respect, some of the most urgent questions are the following:

According to Haider & Rosengren (1998), scrambling should be restricted to OV-languages with verb-class specific base orders.

A) What is the nature of word order variation in Slavic and Scandinavian languages, which are generally analysed as VO-languages?

In Mainland Scandinavian, object shift is dependent on verb movement, restricting WOV to the postverbal field. Yiddish, which has preserved mixed OV/VO word orders, allows for WOV only in the preverbal field.

B) What triggers object shift? Which factors decide whether object shift is restricted to pronouns as in Mainland Scandinavian or may also target full DPs as in Icelandic?

C) Do the Slavic languages show WOV only in the preverbal field or also in the postverbal field? Is word order freedom in Slavic similar to word order freedom in German or is it of a different nature?

D) Is there a connection between the side of WOV and the head complement parameter or which other factors, including prosody could be held responsible for this property?

Like in modern Yiddish, in OHG and OE (languages with mixed OV/VO order) discourse-given constituents moved to the top of the MF. Except for OE (cf. Pintzuk & Taylor 2006), little is known about how indefinite NPs quantificational phrases are ordered with respect to each other and with respect to the verb in older Germanic.

E) Are indefinite pronouns and indefinite NPs placed differently in OHG as definites are?

In modern German genitive objects and dative objects of Acc-Dat-verbs may not be scrambled.

F) How behave genitive objects in OHG and MHG? How do the different case arguments in Slavic fit in?

G) Is there a connection between scrambling of NPs and the aspect type of the verb in Slavic as there is a connection between scrambling and the (in)definiteness of argument NPs in German?

Invited speakers include Hubert Haider (Salzburg) and Helmut Weiß (Frankfurt).

Call For Papers

Invited speakers are Maia Andréasson (Göteborg), Hubert Haider (Salzburg), Natalie Slioussar (Utrecht/St. Petersburg) and Helmut Weiß (Frankfurt).

Abstract Length: 1 page incl. references, plus one page for graphs, if applicable Abstract Format: anonymous, prf or doc (not docx) Notification of Acceptance: Sept. 20, 2010

Page Updated: 31-Aug-2010