LINGUIST List 30.4362

Sat Nov 16 2019

Calls: General Linguistics, Syntax, Typology/Romania

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 11-Nov-2019
From: Ksenia Shagal <>
Subject: Multifunctionality and Syncretism in Non-finite Forms
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Full Title: Multifunctionality and Syncretism in Non-finite Forms

Date: 26-Aug-2020 - 29-Aug-2020
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact Person: Ksenia Shagal
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

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

Call Deadline: 15-Nov-2019

Meeting Description:

This workshop aims at discussing multifunctionality in the domain of non-finite verb forms. Cross-linguistically, it is common for non-finite forms to occur in a variety of dependent clauses performing different functions. For example, as can be seen from Cristofaro’s (2003) data, in the majority of cases, non-finite forms used for adnominal modification are not specific to this function, but can be found in other subordinate constructions as well (see also Hendery 2012: 171). Van Lier (2009: 206–210) shows that in a genealogically and geographically balanced sample of 50 languages all logically possible combinations of functions are attested, i.e. reference function, adnominal modification, and adverbial modification. For instance, the nominalization in -n- in Kayardild (Tangkic), an example of the most flexible form, can function as a predicate of a relative, a complement, or an adverbial clause (Evans 1995: 474–476). Forms that combine the function of predicate of a relative clause with that of predicate of a complement clause are especially common (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 1993: 42‒44; Shibatani 2009).

The questions that we plan to discuss at the workshop include the following:

- What functions are typically combined in one non-finite form? Are there constraints on multifunctionality, and if so, then what are they?
- What kind of differences can multifunctional forms show depending on the function they perform (e.g. differences in TAM expression or argument encoding)?
- What sets multifunctional forms apart in comparison to dedicated (specialized) forms, that is, participles, infinitives, converbs or nominalizations? If not all of the non-finite forms in a language show multifunctionality, which are most likely to be multifunctional?
- Can any observations be made regarding the frequency distributions of different functions for specific forms? In other words, if a form can be used in several types of non-finite dependent clauses, do the frequencies tend to be evenly distributed across contexts, or is the distribution typically skewed in favour of one function?
- Do languages with multifunctional non-finite forms tend to have any particular properties in other domains of grammar?
- Is multifunctionality of non-finite forms more common in certain geographical areas than in others, and if so, where is it most commonly attested?

The full description of the workshop can be found at

2nd Call for Papers:

We invite contributions from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, both functional and formal. We particularly welcome submissions on understudied or underdocumented languages provided they offer an explicit and substantial theoretical contribution to the issue at hand. Possible topics for submissions may include (but are not limited to) the following:

- In-depth case studies of multifunctional non-finite forms in individual languages;
- Typological studies on the properties and distribution of multifunctional non-finite forms;
- Formal and functional approaches to the identity of form and diversity of function;
- Quantitative studies of multifunctionality within individual languages and cross-linguistically.

We aim to develop papers presented at this workshop into a collective volume discussing different aspects of multifunctionality in non-finite forms.

Preliminary abstracts of no more than 300 words (excluding references) should be sent before November 15, 2019, to Any questions or suggestions regarding the workshop are very welcome as well.

If the workshop is accepted, it will take place at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea in Bucharest, August 26–29, 2020 (for more information on the conference see All preliminary workshop participants will be invited to submit their full abstracts before January 15, 2020.


Pavel Rudnev (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
Ksenia Shagal (University of Helsinki)
Anna Volkova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Page Updated: 16-Nov-2019