LINGUIST List 27.530

Wed Jan 27 2016

Confs: General Ling, Historical Ling, Morphology, Syntax, Typology/Germany

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 27-Jan-2016
From: Chiara Gianollo <>
Subject: Indefinites between Theory and Language Change
E-mail this message to a friend

Indefinites between Theory and Language Change

Date: 24-Feb-2016 - 26-Feb-2016
Location: Konstanz, BW, Germany
Contact: Svetlana Petrova
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Morphology; Syntax; Typology

Meeting Description:

The Workshop 'Indefinites between Theory and Language Change' is organized as part of the Annual Conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS) ''Sprachkonzil: Theorie und Experiment'' to be held at the University of Konstanz, Germany February, 24-26, 2016.

Language users employ indefinites, pronouns ('someone', 'anything', 'whatever') and different types of noun phrases ('a book', 'a certain student', 'some time', 'any teacher'), to encode (non-)referentiality, but also other crucial properties, such as degree of identifiability, speaker-hearer knowledge status, discourse saliency. Recent typological and theoretical studies have uncovered a wealth of variation in this domain, on various grammatical levels (morpho-syntax, semantics, pragmatics). The emerging picture needs to be complemented by a comparative evaluation of the observed diachronic patterns. Research on the history of indefinite articles and some classes of indefinite pronouns in individual languages has advanced substantially. We face scenarios that challenge well-known models of development and therefore need a broader cross-linguistic perspective on evolutionary tendencies, also encompassing non-Indo-European languages. A more fine-grained study of the diachronic clines involving indefinites may shed light on some of their intriguing synchronic properties (morpho-syntactic complexity, multifunctionality, context dependence), and on the way systems of indefinites are structured (complementarity, blocking). The investigation further promises to disclose more general conclusions on the systematic nature of change affecting functional elements of the lexicon. We therefore invite contributions from linguists of various persuasions, reconciling in-depth theoretical analysis with comparative and diachronic evidence.


Chiara Gianollo (University of Cologne), Klaus von Heusinger (University of Cologne), Svetlana Petrova (University of Wuppertal)

Invited Speakers:

Maria Aloni, University of Amsterdam
Ljudmila Geist, University of Stuttgart

Scientific Committee:

Maria Aloni
Theresa Biberauer
Cornelia Ebert
Ljudmila Geist
Anastasia Giannakidou
Tania Ionin
Agnes Jäger
Hans Kamp
Edgar Onea
Ian Roberts
Roberto Zamparelli


24 February 2016

14:00 – 15:00
Maria Aloni
Indefinites as fossils

15:00 – 16:00
Urtzi Etxeberria and Anastasia Giannakidou 
Anti-specificity and the role of number: the case of Spanish algún/algunos

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee break

16:30 – 17:30
Irene Franco, Olga Kellert, Guido Mensching, Cecilia Poletto
On (negative) indefinites in Old Italian

17:30 – 18:30
Remus Gergel
Another route towards epistemic indefinites: A case for VERUM?

25 February 2016

9:00 – 10:00
Ljudmila Geist
From indefinite NP to bare NP: why does the indefinite article disappear?

10:00 – 11:00
Patrick G. Grosz 
Scalar epistemic indefinites: a case study of weiß Gott w- in Present Day German

11:00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11:30 – 12:00
Ricardo Etxepare 
From correlative protases to existential pronouns in Basque

12:00 – 12:30
Amel Kallel and Pierre Larrivée
Strong polarity contexts and evolution of n-words

12:30 – 13:00
Moreno Mitrović
Indefinite polarisation and its scalar origin: evidence from Japonic

26 February 2016

11:30 – 12:00
Rosemarie Lühr 
Konstruktionen mit Indefinita in altindogermanischen Sprachen

12:00 – 12:30
Andrei Sideltsev
Relative and indefinite pronouns: synchrony and diachrony. The case of Hittite

12:30 – 13:00
Silvia Luraghi
Partitive case markers and indefiniteness: a diachronic survey

13:00 – 14:00

Page Updated: 27-Jan-2016