LINGUIST List 27.4675

Tue Nov 15 2016

Confs: Gen Ling, Psycholing, Syntax, Text/Corpus Ling/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 15-Nov-2016
From: Lena Karssenberg <>
Subject: International Workshop on Non-Prototypical Clefts
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International Workshop on Non-Prototypical Clefts

Date: 15-Dec-2016 - 16-Dec-2016
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Contact: Lena Karssenberg
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Meeting Description:

Most analyses of cleft sentences focus on the English it-cleft (1a) and pseudo-cleft (1b) and their equivalents across languages, and more specifically on it-clefts with a focus- background articulation and specificational semantics (Lambrecht 2001; Dufter 2009; Destruel 2012; Cruschina 2014; De Cesare & Garassino 2015).

(1) - Who gave you the book?
a. - It's John who gave me the book.
b. - The one who gave me the book is John.

However, there is an increasing interest in non-prototypical clefts, i.e. it-clefts that do not have a focus-background articulation (see example 2) and/or clefts that are introduced by an element other than it (see examples in 3), such as French il y a 'there is', Italian c'è 'there is', English there is, possessive clefts (I have my X who / J'ai ma X qui / ho mia madre che and perception clefts (voici / voilà / ecco) (e.g. Lambrecht 1988; 1994; Collins 1991; Léard 1992; Davidse 2000; 2014; De Cesare 2007; Conti 2010; Lahousse & Lamiroy 2015; Marzo & Crocco 2015; Verwimp & Lahousse 2016; Karssenberg in press).

(2) [Beginning of speech] It was about 50 years ago that Ford gave us the weekend. (Prince 1978)

(3) a. Il y a le téléphone qui sonne
there has the phone that is.ringing
'The phone is ringing.' (Lambrecht 2000: 653)

b. C'è un signore che vuole parlare con te.
'There's a man who wants to talk to you.' (Marzo & Crocco 2015)
c. You are quite right David, it was engineered, seems there's only me and you who can see this. (Davidse & Kimps to appear)
d. I have a friend of mine in the history department teaches two courses per semester. (Lambrecht 2001: 509)
e. Voilà le facteur qui arrive.
'There's the mailman coming. / Here comes the mailman.' (Lambrecht 2002)

Although these types of clefts are argued to be frequent in spoken language (e.g. Lambrecht 1988), a lot of questions regarding the functions and formal properties of these clefts remain unanswered. The aim of this workshop is to bring together both descriptive and theoretical analyses on under-researched types of clefts in order to arrive at a better understanding of those clefts and of clefts in general.

In particular, the workshop aims to address the following questions:

- What are the similarities and differences between clefts introduced by different elements (it, there, I've got and their equivalents in other languages)
- How do non-prototypical clefts relate to one another cross-linguistically?
- What are the repercussions of the existence of non-prototypical clefts for the definition of clefts in general?
- What is the link between the various introductory expressions (e.g. there, c'è...) on the one hand, and sentences that are introduced by the same elements without being clefts on the other (e.g. the link between there clefts and there existential sentences, I've got clefts and possessive sentences)
- Which (formal, semantic, discourse-functional) properties do all clefts have in common?
- Is there a single type of relative clause that all clefts have in common or do the forms and functions of cleft relative clauses vary?
- Should non-prototypical clefts be seen as constructions or should they receive a compositional analysis?
- How do the different types of clefts relate to online language processing?


For the latest version of the program, please check out the website: .

Page Updated: 15-Nov-2016