LINGUIST List 26.4982

Mon Nov 09 2015

Calls: Computational Ling, Historical Ling, Morphology/Netherlands

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 09-Nov-2015
From: Sebastian Collin <>
Subject: The Development of Argument-Marking Systems
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Full Title: The Development of Argument-Marking Systems

Date: 31-Mar-2016 - 01-Apr-2016
Location: Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
Contact Person: Sebastian Collin
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Morphology

Call Deadline: 10-Jan-2016

Meeting Description:

A fundamental task for language is to provide the rules to map meaning to form. In the
communication of an event, these rules should link semantic and information-structural
roles, such as agent, patient, and topic, to their grammatical functions, such as subject and
object. Despite their importance for communication, grammatical strategies of argument
marking (viz. word order, head marking, and dependent marking) seem surprisingly limited
and redundant, and complex at the same time.

Rather than studying individual argument-marking strategies, the focus of this workshop is
on their joint usage and interaction, taking a systemic perspective. For example, in
Hungarian changes in word order were made possible by the development of case marking
(E. Kiss 2013) and in North American languages, word order is strict in the absence of
bound person marking (Mithun 1991). Relevant questions are: Why do languages not use
a simple and straightforward means of encoding who did what to whom? How did
languages end up doing what they do? How did argument-marking strategies first emerge
and how do they interact?

The goal of this workshop is to try to bridge the gap between what can be hypothesized
about the earliest emergence of argument marking (Jackendoff 2002) and (reconstructing)
the oldest stages of natural languages (Barddal to appear), with a special interest in using
computational modeling (van Trijp 2012).

This workshop is organized as part of the NWO-funded project The exaptation of argument
marking (PI Sander Lestrade).

Invited speakers: Johanna Barddal (Ghent University) and Remi van Trijp (Sony lab Paris)

E. Kiss (2013), From Proto-Hungarian SOV to Old Hungarian Top Foc V X*. Diachronica
30(2): 202-231.
Mithun (1991), The development of bound pronominal paradigms. In: Lehman and Jakusz
Hewitt (eds), Language Typology: Typological Models in Reconstruction. Amsterdam: John
van Trijp (2012), The Evolution of Case Systems for Marking Event Structure. In: Steels
(ed.), Experiments in Cultural Language Evolution. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Barddal (to appear), Syntax and syntactic reconstruction. In: Bowern and Evans (eds), The
Routledge handbook of historical linguistics.
Jackendoff (2002), Foundations of language. Oxford: OUP.

Call for Papers:

Anonymized abstracts are invited for 30 minute talks, including discussion. Please send your
two-page abstract as a pdf attachment, providing author and contact information in the body of
the e-mail, to

Notification of acceptance: January 31

Page Updated: 09-Nov-2015