LINGUIST List 25.4306

Wed Oct 29 2014

Calls: General Ling, Morphology, Syntax/Netherlands

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 29-Oct-2014
From: Sebastian Fedden <>
Subject: Gender and Classifiers: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives
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Full Title: Gender and Classifiers: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives

Date: 26-Jan-2015 - 27-Jan-2015
Location: MPI for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Contact Person: Sebastian Fedden
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Morphology; Syntax

Call Deadline: 09-Nov-2014

Meeting Description:

Gender and Classifiers: Areal and Genealogical Perspectives

Following our highly successful dissemination workshop ''Gender and classifiers: Cross-linguistic perspectives'' on the typology of nominal classification systems in 2014, this time we want to look more closely at the areal and genealogical distribution of gender and classifiers in the languages of the world.

Certain types of classification system are typically associated with a language family or a linguistic area and we are interested in evidence which confirms or contradicts these tendencies.
Many Indo-European languages have a two-term or three-term gender system with a masculine-feminine distinction, where a subset of the nouns are allotted to their genders based on biological sex. In Africa the situation is different. While Afroasiatic languages (e.g. Arabic, Somali, Berber) have two-term gender systems build on a masculine-feminine contrast, in Niger-Congo languages (e.g. Swahili, Chichewa, Eegimaa) larger systems are prevalent including a gender for either humans or animates.

Southeast Asian languages (e.g. Chinese, Burmese, Vietnamese) typically have numeral classifiers, which essentially specify counting units. The usual Australian gender system has four distinctions, one of them being a gender for vegetables. If Australian languages have classifiers, they tend to be noun classifiers rather than numeral classifiers. Many languages in the Amazon area (e.g. MiraƱa, Tucano, Tariana) have been reported to have complex nominal classification systems mid-way between gender and classifiers.

Date: 26-27 January 2015
Venue: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Organized by the Surrey Morphology Group and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

Invited Speakers:

Professor Gunter Senft (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)
Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)

Final Call for Papers:

Extended deadline for submission of abstracts: 9 November 2014

We welcome contributions which address the morphology, morphosyntax, syntax or semantics of nominal classification systems from an areal or a genealogical perspective. We are especially interested in languages, language families and areas in which gender and classifiers occur in combination. Abstracts dealing with such languages, language families or areas are particularly welcome.

People wishing to present a paper at the workshop are invited to submit a one-page anonymous abstract in electronic form (pdf or Word document) to Sebastian Fedden at the following address:

Extended deadline for submission of abstracts: 9 November 2014

Further information about the workshop will be posted at:

Page Updated: 29-Oct-2014