LINGUIST List 26.2665

Thu May 28 2015

Confs: Historical Linguistics, Morphology, Semantics, Syntax/UK

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 28-May-2015
From: Maria J. Arche <>
Subject: Copulas Across Languages
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Copulas Across Languages

Date: 18-Jun-2015 - 19-Jun-2015
Location: London, United Kingdom
Contact: Maria J. Arche
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Semantics; Syntax

Meeting Description:

Meeting Title: Copulas Across Languages
Dates: 18-19 June 2015
Venue: University of Greenwich, London (UK)


María J. Arche (University of Greenwich)
Edward Garrett (SOAS)
Antonio Fábregas (University of Tromsø)
Rafael Marín (CNRS-University of Lille 3)

Contact Person: María J. Arche,

Meeting description: This workshop is about the semantic, syntactic and morphological properties of copulas across languages

Invited Speakers:

Ely van Gelderen (University of Arizona)
Lisa Green (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
Tonjes Veenstra (ZAS)

Conference website for (free) registration and further information:

Copulas are an area of the grammar where languages exhibit large variation. Some languages show no copula whatsoever in some instances, while other languages have four or five different copular forms. The type of variation is also diverse; in some languages the variation consists of contrasts between inflected/non-inflected forms (e.g., African American English, Green 2000), and others between different lexical copulas (e.g., Spanish, Arche 2006, Fábregas 2012; Irish, Doherty 1996; Bambara, Koopman 2003; Tibetan, Garrett 2001; Odia, Mahapatra 2002; Saramaccan, Veenstra 2012). The rules determining variation also differ. In some languages variation depends on the tense on the clause (Hebrew, Rapoport 1987; Arabic, Benmamoun 2000; Russian, Turkish, Wetzer 1996, Stassen 1997, Baker 2003; or Sakha, Baker & Vinokurova 2012); in others on the predicate type. As for their morphology, some copulas are verbal while others are described as pronominal (Rapoport 1991; van Gelderen 2011), and others have prepositions at their source (Pustet 2003).

Aims of the Workshop:

- To discuss the syntax and semantics of copular variation across languages. What do copulas combine with and what do they mean?
- To discuss the relation of the copulas to TAME (tense, aspect, mood and evidentiality). Why absent in some tenses? What are the evidential readings?
- To discuss the morphological incarnation of the copulas: what is involved in the morphology of the copulas and what does it tell us about what a copula is?

Illumination for these questions can come from:

1) The description of the morphology, semantics and syntactic distribution of different copulas in different languages and dialects and different acquisitional stages of languages.
2) The description of the diachronic development of the morphology, semantics and syntactic distribution of the copulas in different languages.
3) Qualitative or quantitative analysis of copula realisation and variation using corpus-based methods.


Thursday, 18 June 2015


Opening Plenary by Tonjes Veenstra (ZAS, Berlin)
Copulas as Last Resort Roots

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

Denis Creissels (University of Lyon) and Catherine Taine-Cheikh (LACITO, CNRS, Paris)
From ‘see’ verbs to copulas: a little-known grammaticalization path

Nelia Alexandre and Anabela Gonçalves (Centre of Linguistics, University of Lisbon)
Copular constructions in Portuguese as a second language (PL2) by Chinese learners: Do typological differences matter?

Kwang-sup Kim (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)
Copula as a Nominative Case Marker

Lunch and poster session

Jitka Bartošová and Ivona Kučerová (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON)
On Person, animacy, and copular agreement in Czech

Isabelle Roy (Univ. Paris 8 / CNRS) and Ur Shlonsky (U. Geneva)
On predicative copular sentences, event interpretation and (the absence of) agreement

David Willis (University of Cambridge)
Two predicate-phrase heads in Welsh copular clauses

16:45–17:00 Break

First Day Closing Plenary by Elly van Gelderen (Arizona State University)
Problems of Projection and the Copula Cycle

19:30 Conference dinner

Friday, 19 June 2015

Nicoletta Loccioni (University of California Los Angeles)
Specificational copular constructions as inverse clauses: evidence from Maragoli

Luis Sáez (Complutense University of Madrid)
About the copula of certain Caribbean Spanish focus constructions

Olga Borik (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
The role of copula in periphrastic passives in Russian

11:15–11:45 Coffee break

Anna Bondaruk (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin)
Agreement with the post-verbal DP in Polish dual copula clauses

Susana Béjar, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Jessica Mathie and Tomohiro Yokoyama (University of Toronto)
Number Matching in Copular Clauses

Silja Hlín Guðbjörnsdóttir, Rannveig Sverrisdóttir, Kristín Lena Þorvaldsdóttir, Jóhannes Gísli Jónsson.
A sign language copula

13:15–14:30 Lunch

Devyani Sharma (Queen Mary, University of London)
English-based copula variation in Britain: Past, present, and future

Tracy Conner (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
Ellipsis Licensing and Constraints on Copula Optionality in African American English

15:40–16:00 Coffee break

Closing plenary, Lisa Green (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
The Copula, Aspect, and Variation in African American English


Teresa O'Neill (CUNY Graduate Centre)
Separating Finiteness from Tense in copular sentences


Hannah Gibson and Lutz Marten (SOAS, University of London)
Copulas in existential constructions in Swahili

Eugenia Mangialavori Rasia (National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET))
P incorporation and Spanish copulas: it may be not so different from dancing a jig

Teresa O'Neill (CUNY Graduate Centre)
Separating Finiteness from Tense in copular sentences

Nicholas Welch (University of Toronto)
Copulas and light verbs as a unified category

Page Updated: 28-May-2015