LINGUIST List 29.3436

Fri Sep 07 2018

Calls: Romance; General Linguistics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

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Date: 06-Sep-2018
From: Malte Rosemeyer <>
Subject: Indefinites in Romance
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Full Title: Indefinites in Romance
Short Title: IndefinitesRomance

Date: 29-Sep-2019 - 01-Oct-2019
Location: Kassel, Germany
Contact Person: Malte Rosemeyer
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Language Family(ies): Romance

Call Deadline: 02-Jan-2019

Meeting Description:

Indefinites, i.e. elements that refer to individuals, events, etc. without specifying these individuals or events, can be described as a class of very different syntactic categories, such as:

- Indefinite articles (Fr. une ‘some‘)
- Indefinite quantifiers (Sp. algún ‘somebody‘, nadie ‘nobody‘)
- Indefinite adverbs (It. qualche volta ‘sometimes‘)
- Indefinite verbal phrases (Pt. eu gosto de beber agua ‘I like to drink water‘)

The syntax and semantics of Indefinites are usually described on the basis of Haspelmath’s (1997) Implicational Hierarchies (see Haspelmath 1997, Aloni & Port 2010 for an updated version). Recent studies however have extended the standard description of indefinites by including further features such as plurality, scalarity and speaker’s modality, among other properties (see Chierchia 2006, Alonso-Ovalle & Menéndez-Benito 2017, Kellert submitted, Camus Bergareche & Pérez-Saldanya 2011).

In our workshop, we would like to address the question which morphosyntactic, semantic and/or pragmatic factors, and historical processes are relevant to the classification of indefinites. How important are modality, tense, aspect and lexical verb classes (e.g., predicative and agentive verbs) for the classification of indefinites as [-/+ specific], [+/- epistemic], [+/- free choice]?. How did indefinites evolve? How stable is their category?

The aim of the workshop is thus to describe the distribution and categorical properties in Romance from a diachronic, synchronic and comparative perspective:

- Which parameters are relevant to descriptions of the distribution of Romance indefinites?
- Are their semantic properties lexically encoded or do they result from being used in a specific syntactic and/or pragmatic context (for instance tense and modality)?
- Can we identify historical pathways of evolution of indefinites across the Romance languages?
- Are there other constructional classes that share similarities with indefinites?

Please note that talks and discussions will take place in a Romance language or German.

Call for Papers:

For this session, we welcome contributions of all frameworks. Abstracts should be in a Romance language or German, include a description of the data and method, and refer to the research questions of this call.

Please submit abstracts (max. 2 pages) via email to the session co-organizers by 2 January 2019.

If you have any questions on this session, you are welcome to get in touch with one of the co-organizers.

Page Updated: 07-Sep-2018