LINGUIST List 25.4240

Sat Oct 25 2014

Calls: Syntax, Typology/Netherlands

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 23-Oct-2014
From: Andrej Sideltsev <>
Subject: Clause Structure in the Caucasus and Asia Minor
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Full Title: Clause Structure in the Caucasus and Asia Minor

Date: 02-Sep-2015 - 05-Sep-2015
Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Contact Person: Andrej Sideltsev
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax; Typology

Call Deadline: 20-Nov-2014

Meeting Description:

Clause structure is one of the most widely studied phenomena within formal syntactic theory. There seems to be a consensus among mainstream generative syntacticians that three functional heads v°-T°-C° and the structural layers associated with them constitute the clausal domain. Each of these layers is commonly assumed to play their own specific role in syntactic derivation: arguments are introduced and get their thematic roles assigned within vP, TP grounds the event in aspectual and temporal domains, CP is responsible for finiteness and discourse-related phenomena. However, a number of problems regarding clause structure in general and properties of each of the three layers remain unresolved, for example, whether v° and Voice° are different heads, whether ergative is a structural or inherent case, and where it is assigned, what the locus of gender and person agreement is, etc. A standard way to foster theoretical research is to bring new data and evidence from previously un(der)described languages. The Caucasus and Asia Minor are evident lacunae in this respect, since most languages of the area, with some rare exceptions, are still terra incognita for theoretical syntax. Still, even the first glimpses into the languages of the area show that they have much to offer as for the typology of clause architecture: long distance agreement in Tsez (Polinsky 2001; Polinsky, Potsdam 2001), unconventional preverb movement in Chechen (Komen 2007), unusually consistent raising of verbal arguments out of vP to the specifiers of functional projections and preverb properties in Hittite (Sideltsev forthcoming), to name just a few.

Invited speaker: Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)


Komen 2007 – E. Komen, Focus in Chechen. A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Arts in Linguistics. Leiden University.
Polinsky 2001 – M. Polinsky, Information Structure and Syntax: Topic, Discourse-linking, and agreement, in: Third Workshop on Spoken and Written Texts. Austin: Texas Linguistic Forum.
Polinsky, Potsdam 2001 – M. Polinsky, and E. Potsdam, Long-Distance Agreement and Topic in Tsez, in: Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 19.
Sideltsev forthcoming – A. Sideltsev, When Left is Right. Clause Internal Left Periphery. The Case of Hittite. MS.

Call for Papers:

Workshop Organizers:

Dmitry Ganenkov (Institute of Linguistics, Moscow)
Andrej Sideltsev (Institute of Linguistics, Moscow)

Within the proposed workshop we would like to concentrate on the structure of vP in the languages of the contact area of the Caucasus and Asia Minor. Both modern and extinct ancient languages are sought to be covered: Indo-European (Hittite, Ossetian, Armenian), Hurrian (Hurrian-Urartean), Turkic, Kartvelian, Nakh-Dagestanian, and Northwest Caucasian. The workshop will address the following specific topics:

1. Arguments: Should the external argument be severed from the lexical verb? Where do verbal arguments get their case? What is the structural position of experiencer dative subjects? Is it different from that of agent ergative subjects? What are syntactic correlates of differential subject marking? Are there differences in case assignment/ structural position of verbal arguments related to DP/NP distinction? I.e. are NPs assigned case at all? If they are, do they target the same positions as DPs or stay lower/ in situ? Do the languages attest configurational or non-configurational structures for ergative and dative subject constructions? Is structural position of NPs/DPs sensitive to the information structure? Do NPs/DPs obligatorily/optionally raise to Spec,Top/Spec,FocP or similar? Position of DPs/NPs in thetic sentences.

2. Verb: Does the verb stay in situ, or does it raise to v°? What if any is the strong feature on v°? Does the verb raise out of vP to T°?

3. v°: Do we need different flavours of v°? Are v° and Voice° different heads? If yes, what are their functions? Does branching within vP happen to the left or to the right, and how does this issue interact with radical antisymmetric conceptions?

4. Agreement: Where does gender and person agreement happen? Does person-hierarchy sensitive agreement occur within the vP or outside it? Long-distance agreement.

5. Preverbs: What is category of preverbs and how are they projected? Are they heads of a dedicated PrvP projection or adjuncts to VP or vP? If they are adjuncts, are there constraints on their position? Do they raise out of vP and, if they do, what triggers such raising?

We welcome proposals bringing new data from languages of the Caucasus and Asia Minor which bear upon the issues outlined above. Potential participants are invited to send in preliminary abstracts (no more than 300 words) to both workshop organizers.

Submission deadline: 20 November 2014

Page Updated: 25-Oct-2014