LINGUIST List 25.4298

Wed Oct 29 2014

Calls: Semantics, Syntax/France

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 29-Oct-2014
From: Ora Matushansky <>
Subject: States and Events
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Full Title: States and Events

Date: 18-Apr-2015 - 18-Apr-2015
Location: Paris, France
Contact Person: Elena Soare
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 01-Dec-2014

Meeting Description:

Davidson’s (1967) proposal to augment the argument structure of ‘action’ verbs with an event argument has proven to be very useful in explicating the meaning of verbal predicates, especially in the relationship between meaning to syntactic structure, and has enabled a treatment of adverbial modification, foremost manner modification, in terms of intersective event modification. The Neo-Davidsonian suggestion to introduce something like an event argument also for states and even for non-verbal predicates (e.g. Higginbotham 1985, Parsons 1990, Landman 2000) has been met with more resistance. One of the reasons for treating states differently, for example, is that they are commonly incompatible with manner modification (cf. Katz’s 2003 Stative Adverb Gap; see also Maienborn 2003 et seq., Katz 2008). Others have argued that there is no typological difference between states and events, but states are conceptually ‘poorer’ and thus compatible with fewer adverbs (e.g. Mittwoch 2005, Geuder 2006, Ernst 2011). Yet others have called into question some of the empirical basis for making such a clear-cut distinction between events and states (e.g. Rothstein 2005) or proposed a broader definition of the notion of event, to also include states (e.g. Ramchand 2005). Husband (2012) and Roy (2014) have attributed properties of certain statives to internal conceptual structure of the states they refer to. Finally, research in processing suggests that eventualities more generally can differ in structural complexity (e.g. McKoon and MacFarland 2000, 2002, Gennari and Poeppel 2003, Mobayyen and de Almeida 2005).

General questions to be addressed at this workshop include the following: What is a state? How do states relate to events? Is the notion of “state” a primitive notion in an event ontology, or if (some) states have internal complexity, how so? Do states make available an event argument? How are stative predicates to be represented at the interface with syntax, recognizing that the compositional hypothesis is to date much more fleshed-out for events than for states? Does boundedness play a role at the level of grammar in distinguishing eventive from stative predicates, in, e.g, nominalizations? The notion of boundedness may be intuitively clear but it has been characterized in several ways and can encompass forms of telicity and perfectivity (e.g. Krifka 1998, Borik 2006). Are there more fine-grained ontological distinctions, perhaps related to causation, that are relevant to answering the above questions? Is there psycholinguistic evidence in favor of a clear distinction between states and events?

In addition, the literature identifies distinctions between different kinds of states, including:

- Dynamic vs. static (e.g. Bach 1981, 1986; Dowty 1979)
- Davidsonian vs. Kimian (Maienborn 2003 et seq.; see also Rothmayr 2006, Marín 2013)
- Inchoative states (e.g. de Swart 1998, Marín & McNally 2011)
- Lexical vs. derived (cf. Gehrke 2011 et seq., Fábregas & Marín 2012)
- Individual vs. stage-level (Carlson 1977, Milsark 1974)

Are all of these distinctions needed? If so, what is the empirical basis for each distinction? How are they to be represented? How does any one distinction relate to other distinctions made among states? Are there distinctions that apply to events as well as to states?

This workshop will feature talks addressing such questions. We are particularly interested in talks that relate notions of stativity to notions of eventivity.

Invited Speakers:

Ashwini Deo (Yale University)
Peter Hallman (University of Vienna)

2nd Call for Papers:

Important Dates:

Abstract submission deadline: December 1, 2014
Notification of acceptance: February 15, 2015
Workshop date: April 18, 2015


We invite abstracts for 30 minute talks followed by 10 minutes discussion. Abstracts should be anonymous and should not exceed 2 pages in length (A4 or letter-size, in 12 pt. font, with 1-inch/2.5-cm margins), including examples and references. The language of the workshop is English. Abstracts should be submitted through the GLOW 38 Easychair page (, specifying that the submission should be considered for the workshop.

Page Updated: 29-Oct-2014