LINGUIST List 29.3971

Sat Oct 13 2018

Calls: Genetic Classification, Historical Ling, Morphology, Syntax, Typology/Germany

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 08-Oct-2018
From: Katarzyna Janic <>
Subject: A Comprehensive Perspective on Reflexive Constructions
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Full Title: A Comprehensive Perspective on Reflexive Constructions

Date: 21-Aug-2019 - 24-Aug-2019
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact Person: Katarzyna Janic
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

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

Call Deadline: 15-Jan-2019

Meeting Description:

(Session of 52nd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea)

It is commonly accepted that the term reflexive refers to events wherein the patient object co-refers with the agent subject as in Mary saw herself in the mirror. In contrast, the coding of reflexive interpretation demonstrates remarkable variation (König & Siemund 2000). It extends from nominals through dedicated reflexive pronouns grammaticalized in some languages into verbal affixes, finally to verbal strategies, including a change in verbal paradigm.

Reflexivity has been extensively discussed from different angles. Everaert & van Riemsdijk (2005) investigate it from a syntactic perspective. Yet Huang (2000) incorporates a neo-Gricean pragmatic account, whereas Keenan (1988) delivers semantic expertise. Crosslinguistic studies also couch the topic of reflexivity in various theoretical frameworks. While on the one hand, there is a large body of literature nested in a generative perspective (Chomsky 1981; Everaert 1986; Reinhart & Reuland 2011), on the other hand, there are several functional-typological studies (Faltz 1985; Geniušienė 1988; Kemmer 1993; König 2001; König & Gast 2008). But a survey of the literature clearly shows that much of what counts nowadays as textbook knowledge in this domain still remains subject to vivid discussions. Thus, the workshop addressing the key issues related to reflexivity is well motivated.

Reflexives demonstrate a high degree of diversity that begs for explanation (Déchaine & Wiltschko 2017). In the face of such immense variation, Volkova (2014) openly admits that reconciling such diversity within the Binding Theory is hard, if not impossible, to accomplish. In contrast, functional-typological studies make no claims about language-individual mental grammars, providing explanation based on general aspects of language use.

The classification of reflexives also poses problems (Puddu, in preparation). A common separation takes place along the morphological line, leading to verbal vs. nominal distinction. This dichotomy has been tentatively traced by Faltz (1985) and recognized in both generative and functional traditions. But it runs into some difficulties when we consider, for example, the cases wherein objects are coded on the verb and where the distinction between verbal vs. NP strategy relies merely on affix vs. clitic distinction. As subsequently argued by Faltz (1985), this distinction should rather be viewed as a continuum. The fact that nominal and verbal reflexives frequently provide evidence for a common etymology (Kazenin 2001) further supports the gradient approach to this distinction.


This workshop seeks to investigate the multifaceted aspects of reflexivity from different theoretical perspectives. It is also interested in describing the general patterns that shape reflexivity in a language or language family(-ies) both in its current structure and historical development. Given that reflexivity is a well-charted territory in languages with a good record of data, we particularly encourage scholars working on less-documented languages to explore this empirical domain so that it could bring not only a new dimension to the theoretical linguistics but also serves as a solid research tool for typological studies.

Possible topics:

- How is the reflexive interpretation coded in a language?
- What are cross-linguistic generalisations resulting from the work on reflexivity?
- What are other semantic effects associated with reflexive morphology and how can we explain their common formal source?
- What is the relationship of reflexive marker with the domain of valency?
- What are the possible paths of development of reflexive marker?
- How can reflexives be classified in a functional-typological perspective?

Call for Papers:

Workshop Convenors:

Katarzyna Janic
Nicoletta Puddu

Please send your non-anonymous 300-word abstract to both:

Page Updated: 13-Oct-2018