LINGUIST List 32.2109

Fri Jun 18 2021

Calls: Ling Theories, Syntax/Germany

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 18-Jun-2021
From: Anke Himmelreich <>
Subject: Optionality and non-optionality of syntactic movement (DGfS 2022)
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Full Title: Optionality and non-optionality of syntactic movement (DGfS 2022)

Date: 23-Feb-2022 - 25-Feb-2022
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Contact Person: Anke Himmelreich
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Syntax

Call Deadline: 01-Sep-2021

Meeting Description:

Syntactic movement rules, as other syntactic rules, are often obligatory, but sometimes there seems to be optionality, that is, the movement rule can apply but it doesn’t have to. Optionality is a problem for all generative syntactic theories as it is not clear how an otherwise deterministic grammar can have two possible outputs. One possibility is to say that what we perceive as optionality is actually pseudo-optionality, for example based on underlying structural differences. Another possibility is that optionality is hardwired into the syntactic component, for example by means of optional feature insertion, optional rule application, or optionality of movement constraints (e.g. island constraints). Even if optionality can be seen as a uniform phenomenon, the question still remains of how optionality can be implemented in different syntactic theories. The aim of this workshop is to bring together theoretical and empirical work on optionality of movement.

Invited Speakers:
- Gereon Müller (Leipzig University)
- Elena Titov (UCL)

Call for Papers:

We invite proponents of all syntactic frameworks for 30-minutes talks to discuss with us questions regarding theoretical means and concepts needed to derive variable word order phenomena that can be observed in the world’s languages. Some of the questions we would like to discuss are the following:
1. How can syntactic theories implement optional movement?
2. Is optional movement in fact variable base generation?
3. Is what appears to be optional movement actually the result of imprecise generalizations or the result of speaker differences, that is, is there pseudo-optionality?
4. How can we differentiate between real optionality and pseudo-optionality?
5. Does optional movement correlate with other properties of a language, e.g. the basic word order (SVO vs. SVO)?
6. Are optional movement rules language specific or universal?
7. How is optionality and non-optionality connected to the types of movement (A-bar vs. A-movement, leftward movement vs. rightward movement, etc.)?
8. Can movement constraints (like island constraints) be subject to optionality?

Abstract Guidelines:
Abstracts, including examples and figures, must not exceed two A4 pages with 1-inch margins on all sides, and be set in Times New Roman with at least 11-point font throughout, including captions, footnotes, and references. References may appear on a third page. Examples, tables, graphs, etc. should be interspersed into the text of the abstract, rather than collected at the end. Abstracts should be submitted as a PDF. Submissions are limited to at most one single-authored submission and one joint-authored submission per author.

Abstracts should be submitted via email to by September 01, 2021

Important Deadlines:
Deadline for abstract submission: September 01, 2021
Notification: September 15, 2021
Workshop: February 23-25, 2022

Page Updated: 18-Jun-2021