LINGUIST List 27.3312

Wed Aug 17 2016

Confs: Gen Ling, Ling Theories, Syntax, Typology/UK

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 17-Aug-2016
From: Sandy Ritchie <>
Subject: Workshop on Prominent Internal Possessors
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Workshop on Prominent Internal Possessors

Date: 22-Sep-2016 - 23-Sep-2016
Location: London, United Kingdom
Contact: Sandy Ritchie
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Syntax; Typology

Meeting Description:

In some languages, a possessor that is internal to a possessive phrase (e.g. Mary in Mary's baby or table in leg of the table) has a greater deal of syntactic ‘prominence’ than typically encountered. Contrary to what is usually expected, the grammatical properties of the possessor (and not the possessed item) are relevant for syntactic processes such as agreement with the verb, even though both possessor and possessed are part of the same syntactic phrase. A similar effect can be found with switch-reference, a special type of marking indicating whether the subjects of the two clauses refer to the same entity. Switch-reference typically targets the head of the possessive phrase, but in some languages switch-reference marking indicates that the possessor within the subject phrase of one clause is interpreted as referring to the same entity as the subject of the second clause.

This type of data presents linguistic theorists with a challenge because, despite attested variability across languages in this respect, models of syntax have little to say about it. They have hitherto assumed that agreement and switch-reference are mechanisms that target the head of the possessive phrase, but not a dependent element.

This workshop will bring together researchers who are interested in the syntactic, semantic and information structural effects of internal possessor prominence.

Invited Speakers:

Aslı Göksel, Boğaziçi University
Felicity Meakins, University of Queensland
Karin Michelson, University of Buffalo
Rachel Nordlinger, University of Melbourne
Sergey Say, Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (TBC)

For further information, please see the workshop page on the SOAS website:

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.


The conference programme is now available at:

Page Updated: 17-Aug-2016