LINGUIST List 32.3042

Tue Sep 28 2021

Calls: Historical Ling, Lang Acquisition, Ling Theories, Psycholing, Syntax/Romania

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 20-Sep-2021
From: Ankelien Schippers <>
Subject: The Mirror Asymmetry: Long-distance subject/object asymmetries from a theoretical and empirical perspective
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Full Title: The Mirror Asymmetry: Long-distance subject/object asymmetries from a theoretical and empirical perspective

Date: 24-Aug-2022 - 27-Aug-2022
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact Person: Ankelien Schippers
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Linguistic Theories; Psycholinguistics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 12-Nov-2021

Meeting Description:

It is a well-known fact that clause-bound (short-distance) A’-dependencies (wh-questions, relatives) are typically less marked than object A’-dependencies. Somewhat surprisingly, a reverse asymmetry seems to hold for long-distance (LD) A’-dependencies: Crosslinguistically speaking, subjects are harder to extract from embedded clauses than non-subjects. Many languages therefore employ some sort of alternative strategy to form LD subject dependencies, such as complementizer deletion or alternation, clausal pied-piping, resumptive prolepsis and scope marking (cf. Rizzi & Shlonsky, 2007). The reverse asymmetry is furthermore visible in L1 (Roeper & De Villiers, 2011) and L2 acquisition (Jordens, 1991; Juffs & Rodríguez, 2014), in diachronic change (Schippers & Hoeksema, 2021) in acceptability judgment data (Featherston, 2005; Kiziak, 2010) and sentence processing (Schippers et al., 2020).
The problem with LD subject extraction is perhaps best known because of the that-trace or COMP-trace effect in English, for which different explanations have been given, including syntactic (Rizzi, 1990), informational-structural (Bennis, 1986; Bayer, 2005), processing-related (Hawkins, 2003), production-related (McDaniel et al., 2015) and prosodic explanations (Kandybowicz, 2008). Rizzi & Shlonsky (2007) propose the COMP-trace effect in English is due to a universal ban on LD subject extraction (criterial subject freezing). This is meant to account for the fact that crosslinguistically, LD subject extraction appears banned almost without exception, although here do appear to be exceptions (e.g. German, Dutch). Even in English, there is speaker variation (Sobin, 1987, Cowart, 2003().

The difficulties associated with LD subject/object asymmetries have been the topic of extensive research and debate in formal frameworks, with the issue far from being settled (Pesetsky, 2017). Up to now, the topic has received relatively little attention from more empirically driven lines of research, such as psycholinguistics, language acquisition and diachronic and synchronic variation. linguistics. This workshop therefore has as its goal to bring together researchers that work on LD subject/non-subject asymmetries from different fields of research and frameworks. The overarching research question that this workshop aims to answer (and which all presentations should address) is: Which factor causes the LD subject/object asymmetry? Relevant subquestions related to this central question are (amongst others):

- Is there a general, universal constraint on LD subject movement or are there exemptional languages/contexts?
- Which alternative strategies are employed to form LD subject dependencies, what is their syntactic and semantic structure, and how do they relate to LD movement proper?
- Are there LD subject/object asymmetries in language processing, production and comprehension? What kind of conclusions can be drawn from this (i.e. can LD subject/object asymmetries be reduced to processing and/or production considerations)?
- Are there LD subject/object asymmetries in L1 and L2 acquisition and what can be learned from this?
- What kind of diachronic and synchronic (e.g. dialectal) variation in LD subject/object asymmetries effects can be observed?
In addition to empirically grounded work (research on language production and processing, first and second language acquisition, corpus linguistics, etc.), we also welcome (novel) formal explanations for LD subject non/subject asymmetries. Furthermore, we particularly welcome research on lesser-known languages and varieties.

Call for Papers:

A non-anonymous, 300-word abstract can be send to before 12 November, 2021. You will be notified of your acceptance to be included in the workshop proposal by November 19th, 2021.

Page Updated: 28-Sep-2021