LINGUIST List 29.2215

Tue May 22 2018

Calls: Historical Ling, Ling Theories, Phonology, Syntax, Text/Corpus Ling/Germany

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 21-May-2018
From: Nicholas Catasso <>
Subject: Language Change at the Interfaces: On the Interaction between Syntax, Prosody and Information Structure (at 41st DGfS)
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Full Title: Language Change at the Interfaces: On the Interaction between Syntax, Prosody and Information Structure (AG at the 41st DGfS Annual Meeting in Bremen)

Date: 06-Mar-2019 - 08-Mar-2019
Location: Bremen, Germany
Contact Person: Nicholas Catasso Chiara De Bastiani
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Phonology; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Call Deadline: 01-Jul-2018

Meeting Description:

In recent years, a lively scientific debate has uncovered a (relative) interdependency between the encoding of different information-structural (IS) categories and syntactic reordering in the diachrony of Germanic and Romance, thereby laying the ground for a novel approach to language change at least in part based on language-internal mechanisms at the interface with syntax and prosody. Diachronic change can, indeed, be described as a change in the way IS categories are displayed in the grammar, e.g. through LF or PF conditions. Cf. for instance the loss of V2 in Middle English (van Kemenade & Westergaard 2012) and Old Italian (Poletto 2014), the loss of IS-triggered leftward movements in Old Spanish and Old Portuguese (Eide & Sitaridou 2014) or the impact of IS on the OV/VO alternation in Old High German (Petrova 2009, Hinterhölzl & Petrova 2018) or in Old Icelandic (Hróarsdóttir 2009), the alternation between V2 and V3 in older West Germanic (Walkden 2015).

The aim of this workshop is to bring together linguists of different theoretical persuasions with original contributions on the intricate relation between syntax, prosody and IS from a diachronic and synchronic perspective. Specifically, the topics we would like to address include (but are not limited to) the following questions:

- In what way does the encoding of IS categories such as Topic and Focus, referential givenness/newness, contrast etc. contribute to parametric resetting in diachronic syntax? What factors determine this change and how can we model it in a (non-)cartographic framework?
- What is the role of discourse-structural strategies (such as discourse particles or the anaphoric properties of demonstratives) in IS-induced syntactic change?
- From a broader cross-linguistic perspective, what kind of insights do other languages provide in which a diachronic switch from information-structurally to syntactically triggered configurations is observed (in the spirit of van Kemenade & Westergaard 2012)?
- How can we improve the methodology in order to effectively ascertain IS and prosodic phenomena? Can paratextual elements constitute reliable evidence for the individuation of intonational patterns?


Nicholas Catasso (Bergische Universität Wuppertal), Marco Coniglio (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Chiara De Bastiani (Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia), Roland Hinterhölzl (Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia)

Invited speaker:

George Walkden (Universität Konstanz)

Call for Papers:

Anonymous abstracts for 20-minute presentations (plus 10 minutes discussion) must be submitted in .doc and in PDF format. They should not exceed one page in length (excluding references), in a font size no less than 12pt, and with margins of 1 inch/2.5cm. Every author can submit at most one single-authored abstract and one co-authored abstract.

Notification of acceptance: August 1, 2018.

Abstracts are to be submitted via e-mail no later than July 1, 2018 to:

Contact persons:

Nicholas Catasso (
Chiara De Bastiani (

Page Updated: 22-May-2018