LINGUIST List 26.5197

Thu Nov 19 2015

Calls: General Ling, Lang Acq, Psycholing, Semantics, Syntax/France

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 19-Nov-2015
From: Maia Duguine <>
Subject: NonFinite Subjects 2016
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Full Title: NonFinite Subjects 2016
Short Title: NFS

Date: 01-Apr-2016 - 02-Apr-2016
Location: Nantes, France
Contact Person: Maia Duguine
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 11-Dec-2015

Meeting Description:

The Laboratoire de Linguistique de Nantes (LLING) is pleased to announce the NonFinite Subjects Conference, to be held at the University of Nantes, Nantes (France) on April 1-2, 2016.
The conference aims at providing a forum for discussion of recent, high quality research on the subject position of non-finite structures.

Invited Speakers:

Misha Becker, University of North Carolina
Hazel Pearson, ZAS Berlin
Michelle Sheehan, Anglia Ruskin University
Sandhya Sundaresan, University of Leipzig

This workshop focuses on recent findings that shake the standard assumptions on the syntax and semantics of the subject position of non-finite structures. By scrutinizing data that does not quite fit standard approaches to non-finite subjects, we seek to question the premises and basic tenets underlying standard approaches in order to develop more explanatory analyses of the distribution and interpretation of non-finite subjects. Please check the conference website for a detailed meeting description.

2nd Call for Papers:

[Please check the conference website for a detailed description of the issues we plan to address.]

We invite submissions on the syntactic, semantic and psycholinguistic aspects of non-finite subjects, with potential questions that include, but are not restricted to the following issues:

Lexical subjects freely alternating with PRO.
The classical approach assumes a strict correlation between finiteness and types of subjects: finite constructions display lexical subjects, while non-finite ones only allow PRO (here used pretheoretically) or NP-traces. However, a multiplicity of data contradicts this generalization.

What are the theoretical consequences of these facts? Should the PRO vs. lexical subject dichotomy be abandoned?

'Overt PRO'.
Languages such as Hungarian, Korean, Basque or Portuguese allow overt pronouns with the properties of Obligatory Control PRO (Borer 1989, Szabolcsi 2009, Barbosa 2009, Duguine 2013). How does the existence of 'overt PROs' fit in current approaches to non-finiteness (and to control/raising)? Overt PROs are pronouns in many languages, but have reflexive or anaphor-like properties in languages such as Korean (Borer 1989, Lee 2009). Can a unified explanation be given?

Beyond infinitives: Degrees of (non-)finiteness and subjects.
From a cross-linguistic perspective, the finiteness vs. non-finiteness dichotomy is intricate. How do we correlate the typology of (non-)finiteness and the distribution/interpretation of subjects and what theoretical implications should we draw? From a more general perspective on clausal structure, assuming a spectrum of non-finiteness (Haddican & Tsoulas 2012, Wurmbrand 2014), is there a corresponding array of subjects and how do the precise features of this continuum interact with the typology of subjects? Are the properties of the C-layer relevant in this regard (Rizzi 1997, Adger 2007)? What about tense/agreement (Wurmbrand 2001, 2014, Landau 2004)?

Interpretation of finite vs. non-finite subjects.
A further tenet of the standard approach is that non-finiteness also forces the subject to be anaphoric/referentially dependent. To what extent does this correlation hold since in many languages referentially free expressions (overt or null) also occur in nonfinite constructions. How can these differences be accounted for?
Ultimately, should we consider (at least) PRO and pro to be two facets of a single phenomenon (cf. Duguine 2015, Herbeck 2015; see also Sundaresan 2014)?

There is also the issue of the relation with the higher finite structure. Are the properties of non-finite subjects determined by the matrix verb (Borer 1989, Sundaresan & McFadden 2009, Pearson 2013, Grano 2015)? What then determines the nature of subjects of e.g. non-finite clauses in adjunct or subject position?

Experimental evidence.
What experimental or psycholinguistic evidence can be brought to bear on the issues discussed above?

Submission Guidelines:
Abstracts should not exceed two pages in letter-size or A4 paper, including examples, tables, figures and references, with 1 inch or 2.5 cm margins on all sides and 12 point font size. Submissions are limited to one individual and one joint abstract per author, or two joint abstracts per author.

Important Dates:
Deadline for submissions: December 11, 2015
Notification of acceptance: January 22, 2016
Conference dates: April 1-2, 2016


Page Updated: 19-Nov-2015