LINGUIST List 26.1084

Wed Feb 25 2015

Calls: General Linguistics, Pragmatics/Austria

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 24-Feb-2015
From: Dina El Zarka <>
Subject: Under One Roof: Sharing a Form with Focus
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Full Title: Under One Roof: Sharing a Form with Focus
Short Title: GWIS 3

Date: 25-Sep-2015 - 26-Sep-2015
Location: Graz, Austria
Contact Person: Dina El Zarka
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Pragmatics

Call Deadline: 15-Apr-2015

Meeting Description:

Organizers: Dina El Zarka, Anna Gazdik, Steffen Heidinger (University of Graz)

Invited Speakers:

Manuel Leonetti (Universidad de Alcalá)
Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam)

Meeting Description:

A great number of formal linguistic means can be used to express the information structural partition between the focus and the background of a sentence. Under closer scrutiny, many of the formal means that are usually interpreted as encoding focus turn out to have other functions as well.

The aim of this workshop is to investigate the polyfunctionality of linguistic means associated with focus. We are especially interested in cases of polyfunctionality that go beyond the well-known cases where the same linguistic form is associated with focus and contrast or exhaustivity. For example, French clefts can serve to narrowly focus the clefted constituent, but also to create cohesion with the preceding context. Another example is particles which encode TAM functions, but also trigger a focus interpretation.

Topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the following issues:

- Patterns of polyfunctionality
Which are the additional functions expressed by linguistic means associated with focus? Are these functions part of the semantics of the respective linguistic means or the result of pragmatic inference? Are there recurring patterns of polyfunctionality?

- Polyfunctionality and types of linguistic means
Is there a relationship between different patterns of polyfunctionality and the formal types of linguistic means associated with focus? Are there patterns typically associated with a certain linguistic level to the exclusion of the others (e.g. with prosodic, but not with morphological or syntactic means)?

- Polyfunctionality and the categorial status of focus
In the literature on information structure there is an ongoing debate whether focus is an integral part of grammar or rather belongs to pragmatics. In this regard, the claim that focus is a universal linguistic category has recently been called into question.
-- To what extent can the analysis of polyfunctional patterns contribute to this ongoing debate?
-- Can polyfunctionality be considered as a counter-argument against focus as a (universal) linguistic category?
-- Can, on the other hand, the one-to-one mapping between a linguistic form and a focus interpretation be considered as evidence for focus as a linguistic category in this specific language?

A detailed thematic description of the workshop can be found at:

Call for Papers:

We invite submissions for 30 min talks (plus 10 min for discussion) on issues related to the polyfunctionality of linguistic means associated with focus (for further details see meeting description). Contributions on the interaction of focus with any linguistic level (syntax, prosody, semantics, morphology) are welcome. We are interested in cross-linguistic as well as in language specific research, from a synchronic or diachronic perspective. Abstracts must be anonymous and at most 2 pages in length including references and data in A4 or US letter format (12 pt Times New Roman, single-spaced). Abstracts should be submitted to [in the field ''Abstract'' as a plain text file AND in the field ''Upload paper'' as a PDF file (.pdf)].

Deadline for abstract submission: April 15, 2015
Notification of acceptance: June 1, 2015

Scientific Committee:

Manuel Leonetti
Dejan Matić
Eva Schultze-Berndt
Malte Zimmermann
Dina El Zarka
Anna Gazdik
Steffen Heidinger

Page Updated: 25-Feb-2015