LINGUIST List 32.2454

Thu Jul 22 2021

Calls: Semantics, Syntax/Germany

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 22-Jul-2021
From: Katharina Hartmann <>
Subject: Long distance dependencies and the structure of embedded clauses in African languages (DGfS 2022)
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Full Title: Long distance dependencies and the structure of embedded clauses in African languages (DGfS 2022)
Short Title: SASAL 1

Date: 23-Feb-2022 - 25-Feb-2022
Location: Tübingen, Germany
Contact Person: Katharina Hartmann
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 01-Sep-2021

Meeting Description:

This workshop is part of the 44th Annual Conference of the DGfS in Tübingen. For more information on the 44th Annual Conference of the DGfS, please visit the website of the conference (

Over the past three decades, formal linguistics has been increasingly devoted to carrying out research into hitherto understudied and undocumented languages. The wealth of phenomena uncovered has not only tremendously enriched linguistic discussions; the empirical findings have also been used as testing grounds for theoretical assumptions that were almost exclusively based on mostly European languages standardly investigated in the last century – often with surprising consequences for linguistic hypothesis building.

This hybrid workshop (in presence and online) is aimed at continuing this line of research. We specifically invite contributions investigating the structure and interpretation of embedded sentences and long-distance dependencies in African languages. Such structures are of high theoretical interest as they exhibit properties that may shed light on outstanding theoretical questions and problems. Concerning the structure of embedded clauses first, well-known concepts such as wh-selection, the nature of the embedding complementizer, and even the strategy of complementation itself may be fundamentally different from what is found in Indoeuropean languages. For instance, many African languages do not embed wh-complements under wh-selecting verbs but use a relative clause strategy instead (Zimmermann 2018); see (1) from Eton (Bantu) for illustration (Haniel Enoka, p.c.).
(1) A-ti-kam i-mot Alima a-yən.
3sg-prog-doubt alt-person A. 3sg-see.pst
‘She is wondering who Alima saw.’ (lit. She doubts (about) the person Alima saw.)
Concerning long distance dependencies, African languages often exhibit morphological or phonological surface reflexes of syntactic dependencies beyond simple reordering, see, for instance, Amaechi (2020). These can serve to prove the presence or absence of syntactic movement in cases of doubt (e.g., topic movement, short subject movement, movement out of islands, etc.). In addition, resumption in main and embedded clauses is widespread across different African languages, giving rise to a number of interesting and not well-understood asymmetries between different types of extractions.

With this workshop, we will continue our commitment to the diversification of African linguistics. We especially invite researchers from the African continent to participate in this workshop with the determined aim to make African languages and linguists more visible on the international stage. We are convinced that an increased engagement for African language research will not only broaden our own theoretical horizons, but that it will also contribute to the development and stabilization of linguistic departments and research institutes in Africa.

Invited Speakers:
- Abigail Anne Bimpeh (ZAS, Berlin)
- Vicki Carstens (University of Connecticut)
- Alassane Kiemtoré (Universität Stuttgart)

Call for Papers:

We specifically, but not exclusively, invite workshop contributions on the following topics:
i. Syntax and Semantics of embedded questions; cf. (1).
ii. Clausal embedding, complementizers, and the left periphery
iii. Clausal embedding and logophoricity
iv. Tense and aspect in embedded clauses: Sequence of tense phenomena etc.
v. The syntax and semantics of before-clauses
vi. The syntax of restrictive relative clauses: raising or matching?
vii. Morphological or tonal reflexes of long-distance dependencies
viii. The syntax and semantics of Serial Verb Constructions
ix. Differences in island restrictions across languages
x. The syntax of resumption

We invite submissions for talks (20 minutes + 10 discussion). Abstracts must be no longer than one page. An additional page for examples, figures, data and references is allowed. Abstracts must be submitted in 12-point font, US Letter size or A4 paper with 1 inch/2.5 cm margins and in PDF format.

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

Page Updated: 22-Jul-2021