LINGUIST List 28.773

Thu Feb 09 2017

Calls: Ling Theories, Morphology, Psycholing, Semantics, Syntax/Austria

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 07-Feb-2017
From: Kleanthes K. Grohmann <>
Subject: Passives - A Cross-Linguistic Workshop
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Full Title: Passives - A Cross-Linguistic Workshop
Short Title: Passives

Date: 16-Sep-2017 - 17-Sep-2017
Location: Vienna, Austria
Contact Person: Kleanthes K. Grohmann
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 30-Apr-2017

Meeting Description:

On Sunday and Monday, 16–17 September 2017, Passive – A Cross-Linguistic Workshop will take place at the University of Vienna, Austria. The workshop description is as follows.

How passive sentences are produced has been debated intensely in formal linguistics for more than half a century; see e.g. Hallmann & Kallulli (2013) for a thorough introduction to the history of the linguistic interpretation of passives and their relation to their active counterparts in grammatical theory. In GB syntax (Chomsky 1981), the generation of passives is typically attributed to A-chain formation motivated by Case absorption of a passive morpheme (Baker, Johnson and Roberts 1989): An internal argument which receives the patient theta role but not accusative Case must move to the grammatical subject position, a Case-marked position without a theta role. Other, earlier work has accounted for the production of passives, especially in Japanese (Kuno 1973), with the non-NP movement approach (Kuroda 1965, 1979). In the framework of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995 et seq.), Hoshi (1994) proposes that the subject NP of a Japanese passive, which is base-generated at the Spec of the higher VP shell (SpecvP), raises to the Spec of IP (SpecTP) for Case reasons, while Boeckx (1998) treats Japanese ni direct passives, for example, on a par with tough-constructions as NP-movement without Case-absorption. Another avenue of research holds that passives are motivated by Case and theta role checking, following Hornstein (2001). More recent works puts passives in perspective with other voices and explore a more complex role carried by little v (e.g. Folli & Harley 2005).

Focusing on the economy of derivation, a question arises: Why is a passive sentence preferred in derivation even though it is more costly and arguably acquired later than its active counterpart? In addition, we could ask: Why can a passive sentence be interpreted differently depending on the context such as neutral and emotionally speaker-oriented in semantics and pragmatics? This workshop aims to discuss and uncover answers and solutions to such questions through the in-depth analyses of passives across different languages and populations from the interface perspectives between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

The invited speakers have all worked on passives for a long time. This ranges from groundbreaking work on dethematized subjects (Roberts 1987), the role of the lexicon (Ramchand 2008), the syntactic realization of v in passives and anticausatives (Kallulli 2007), and strictly local derivational approaches with cyclic LF and PF Spell-Out (Müller 2011) to passive morphosyntax in Italian dialects including indirect object/dative passives (Ledgeway 2000), passive-like constructions across Basque dialects (Etxepare (2008–11), and issues for language acquisition in Greek (Terzi & Wexler 2002). Kleanthes K. Grohmann and Maria Kambanaros are the workshop conveners and Eva-Maria Remberger is the local workshop organizer. The workshop receives partial financial support from the Department of Romance Studies and the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna.

Call for Papers:

Further to the above General Description of 'Passives — A Cross-Linguistic Workshop', we call for submission of abstracts for presenting posters at this two-day workshop that will accompany talks by the following invited speakers and organizers:

Ricardo Etxepare, CNRS, IKER UMR 5478 (Bayonne, France)
Kleanthes K. Grohmann, University of Cyprus (Nicosia, Cyprus)
Dalina Kallulli, University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
Maria Kambanaros, Cyprus University of Technology (Limassol, Cyprus)
Adam Ledgeway, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Akemi Matsuya, Takachiho University (Tokyo, Japan)
Gereon Müller, University of Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany)
Gillian Ramchand, UIT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway)
Eva-Maria Remberger, University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
Ian Roberts, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Arhonto Terzi, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece (Patras, Greece)

Please send your anonymous one-page abstract (A4, 2.5cm margins on all side, 12pt font) -- with a possible second page for tables, graphs, or references -- to one of the workshop organizers ( The organizers and invited speakers will select them for inclusion and choose the highest-rated abstract for oral presentation. Please state in your abstract if you do not wish to be considered for oral presentation.

Important Dates:

Abstract submission for posters: 30 April 2017
Decision on poster acceptance: 15 May 2017
The workshop will take place: 16–17 September 2017 in Vienna, Austria


Baker, M. K. Johnson & I. Roberts (1989). Passive arguments raised. Linguistic Inquiry 20, 219-251.
Boeckx, C. (1998). A minimalist view on the passive. UConn Occasional Papers in Linguistics 2, distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht: Foris.
Chomsky, N. (1995). The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Etxepare, R. (2008–2011). Towards a syntactic atlas of the Basque language, research project funded by Agence Nationale de la Recherche, IKER UMR 5478.
Folli, R. & H. Harley (2005). Flavours of v: Consuming results in Italian and English. In P. Kempchinsky & R. Slabakova (eds.), Aspectual Enquiries. Dordrecht: Springer.
Hallman, P. & D. Kallulli (2013). Introduction to the Special Issue ‘Passive: Components and Composition’. Lingua 125, 1-6.
Hornstein (2001). Move! A Minimalist Theory of Construal. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hoshi, H. (1994). Passive, Causative, and Light Verbs: A Study on Theta Role Assignment. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Connecticut.
Kallulli, D. (2007). Rethinking the passive/anticausative distinction. Linguistic Inquiry 38, 770-780.
Kuno, S. (1973). The Structure of Japanese Language. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Kuroda, S.-Y. (1965). Generative Grammatical Studies in the Japanese Language. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Kuroda, S.-Y. (1979). On Japanese passives. In G. Bedell, E. Kobayashi & M. Muraki (eds.), Explorations in Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Kazuko Inoue. Tokyo: Kaitakusha.
Ledgeway, A. (2000). A Comparative Syntax of the Dialects of Southern Italy: A Minimalist Approach. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Müller, G. (2011). Constraints on Displacement: A Phase-Based Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Ramchand, G. (2008). Verb Meaning and the Lexicon: A First Phase Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Roberts, I. (1987). The Representation of Implicit and Dethematized Subjects. Dordrecht: Foris.
Terzi, A. & K. Wexler (2002). A-chains and S-homophones in children’s grammar: Evidence from Greek passives. Proceedings of NELS 32, 519-537.

Page Updated: 09-Feb-2017