LINGUIST List 23.5223

Thu Dec 13 2012

Calls: Phonology, Syntax, Text/Corpus Ling, Discipline of Ling/Germany

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <>

Date: 13-Dec-2012
From: Claudia Wegener <>
Subject: Information Structure in Spoken Language Corpora
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Full Title: Information Structure in Spoken Language Corpora Short Title: ISSLaC
Date: 10-Jun-2013 - 12-Jun-2013 Location: Bielefeld, Germany Contact Person: Claudia Wegener
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics; Phonology; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Call Deadline: 21-Dec-2012

Meeting Description:

Recent developments in technology have made it possible for linguists to create spoken language corpora on a hitherto unprecedented range of languages, including several lesser-studied languages. For languages without a written tradition, spoken corpora assume an even greater value since they document the only mode of communication. Data obtained from corpora are increasingly used in linguistic research, reflecting a more usage-based orientation on the part of linguists on the one hand, and making analyses verifiable on the other.

Spoken language corpora are promising to be particularly useful to the study of information structure (IS). IS often involves complex correspondences between communicative goals and marking strategies, encompassing prosody, morphology, and syntactic structure, the full range of which can best be observed in naturally occurring data (Brunetti et al: 2011). However, the investigation of IS in spoken corpora still has many methodological obstacles to overcome, ranging from those related to the prosodic analysis of spontaneous speech to those relating to the very identification of IS categories in such spontaneous data. These challenges explain why much research on IS continues to rely on introspection or on experimental research. These techniques are rarely available to linguists working with lesser-known languages: they are usually not native speakers, making introspection impossible; further, many types of experiments are not applicable in non-literate and/or non-western cultural contexts. Thus analysing spoken corpora is the only means to get insights into the encoding of IS in these languages, and indeed it is only through the study of spontaneous data that it is possible to gather inventories of the full range of IS categories and understand how they are employed in discourse.

The goal of this workshop is to discuss both research findings on information structure based on spoken corpora, and methodological issues arising in such investigations, in a cross-linguistic perspective.

This workshop is part of the project ‘Discourse and prosody across language family boundaries: two corpus-based case studies on contact-induced syntactic and prosodic convergence in the encoding of information structure’, funded by DoBeS (Volkswagen-Stiftung Funding Initiative ‘Documentation of Endangered Languages’).

Invited Speakers:

Evangelia Adamou (CNRS - LACITO, Villejuif, France)
Lisa Brunetti (CNRS - DLD, Lyon, France)
Yiya Chen (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Dejan Matic (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Amina Mettouchi (CNRS - LLACAN, Villejuif, France)
Antje Muntendam (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Patrizia Paggio (University of Copenhagen, Denmark; University of Malta)
Arndt Riester (Universität Stuttgart, Germany)
Dina El Zarka (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria)
Sabine Zerbian (Universität Potsdam, Germany)


Claudia Wegener, University of Bielefeld
Candide Simard, SOAS, London
Eva Schultze-Berndt, University of Manchester

2nd Call for Papers:

Deadline extended: December 21, 2012

We invite submissions for 30 minute talks (plus 10 minutes for discussion) on any of the following aspects:

- Which prosodic and/or syntactic features of information structure have been identified on the basis of corpora of (naturalistic) spoken discourse, both for better-known and lesser-known languages?
- How do these findings compare with findings based on experimental research or non-corpus data?
- What are the methodological issues and advances associated with research on information structure in spoken language corpora?
- How do findings based on spoken corpora contribute to our knowledge of a cross-linguistic inventory of information structure categories?
- What evidence is there for convergence in information structure categories and the strategies for their expression in situations of language contact?

Abstracts should be submitted anonymously online under the following link:

Please include only the title of your talk in the abstract. You should then give your title as well as your name and affiliation on the abstract submission page. Abstracts should not be longer than one A4 page including references, plus half a page for examples if applicable (Times New Roman font, 12 pt, single-spaced). Please upload your abstract as a pdf- or doc-file as instructed by the submission system.

Deadline for abstract submission: December 21, 2012
Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2013

Page Updated: 13-Dec-2012